Faculty Advisor

Dr. Matthew Persons

Start Date

27-4-2021 12:00 AM

End Date

27-4-2021 12:00 AM

Description

Wolf spiders can learn spatial navigation through simple maze tasks. It remains unclear if spatial learning is acquired through idiothetic information (i.e. self-referential movement cues) or if they use allothetic cues (e.g. external landmarks) to navigate. Spiders may also use specific types of landmarks to navigate known as reference frames. A reference frame is an environmental shape or boundary that provides a framework for spatial localization. Using a modified water T-maze, we recorded the ability of adult female Tigrosa helluo wolf spiders to correctly navigate toward a target reward. We measured variation in spatial learning of the target location with and without a reference frame. We tested females over ten consecutive trials whereby each subject had a maximum of thirty minutes to successfully achieve the goal. We repeated training the following day for each subject for a total of 20 trials over two days. For each trial we measured the latency to achieve the goal and number of reversions or path retracing. Results indicate significantly shorter time to goal over subsequent trials with shorter mean latency to achieve goal on the second day compared to the first and these effects were more pronounced when landmarks were present. Wolf spiders can learn simple T-maze navigation under our testing conditions, but learning is enhanced when guiding landmark features are present. Collectively these results suggest that idiothetic cues are relatively less important for spatial navigation and that learned spatial navigation tasks are better retained over two days in the presence of reference frames.

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Apr 27th, 12:00 AM Apr 27th, 12:00 AM

Landmark-Guided T-Maze Learning in the Wolf Spider Tigrosa helluo

Wolf spiders can learn spatial navigation through simple maze tasks. It remains unclear if spatial learning is acquired through idiothetic information (i.e. self-referential movement cues) or if they use allothetic cues (e.g. external landmarks) to navigate. Spiders may also use specific types of landmarks to navigate known as reference frames. A reference frame is an environmental shape or boundary that provides a framework for spatial localization. Using a modified water T-maze, we recorded the ability of adult female Tigrosa helluo wolf spiders to correctly navigate toward a target reward. We measured variation in spatial learning of the target location with and without a reference frame. We tested females over ten consecutive trials whereby each subject had a maximum of thirty minutes to successfully achieve the goal. We repeated training the following day for each subject for a total of 20 trials over two days. For each trial we measured the latency to achieve the goal and number of reversions or path retracing. Results indicate significantly shorter time to goal over subsequent trials with shorter mean latency to achieve goal on the second day compared to the first and these effects were more pronounced when landmarks were present. Wolf spiders can learn simple T-maze navigation under our testing conditions, but learning is enhanced when guiding landmark features are present. Collectively these results suggest that idiothetic cues are relatively less important for spatial navigation and that learned spatial navigation tasks are better retained over two days in the presence of reference frames.

 

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