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Lupin 10-18-2007 04:49 AM

News: Fish suffering from insomnia

Interesting article indeed.

Most fish do sleep, and as with humans, they don't always get the shut-eye they'd like. A new study shows pet zebrafish can become insomniacs—especially when scientists mess with their biology.

Common aquarium pets, zebrafish have no eyelids and so scientists have wondered whether the fish get any sleep. The new research, detailed in the Oct. 16 issue of the journal PLoS Biology, suggests the fish do indeed take naps and can experience sleepless nights.

The findings have implications for understanding human sleep problems. The neurological disorder narcolepsy affects about one in 2,000 people in the United States, plaguing them with excessive daytime sleepiness, interrupted nighttime sleep, bouts of muscle paralysis that cause a narcoleptic to collapse, and dream-like hallucinations during sleep.

In past research, Emmanuel Mignot, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, found that narcoleptic Dobermans and Labradors with a malfunctioning "hypocretin" brain receptor showed signs of narcolepsy similar to the symptoms in humans.

Mignot, lead author Tohei Yokogawa of Stanford and their colleagues monitored zebrafish in aquaria, finding when the little swimmers dozed off they drooped their tails and spent most of the night beneath the water's surface or at the bottom of their tanks.

Then they monitored the snooze patterns of normal zebrafish and mutant zebrafish that lacked functional hypocretin receptors.

Overall, snooze times for the mutant zebrafish decreased by 30 percent compared with the normal zebrafish. And when the mutants did finally drift off, they remained asleep only half as long as normal fish.

The researchers say zebrafish will provide a cheap and powerful animal model for studying sleep disorders.

Mirta 10-19-2007 09:43 AM

Do other fish sleep with their eyes shut???

Lupin 10-19-2007 09:57 AM


Originally Posted by Mirta
Do other fish sleep with their eyes shut???

Fish don't have eye lids so no, they don't shut their eyes.

Mirta 10-19-2007 10:48 AM

That's what I thought. Well, then they all must have insomnia unless they have learned to deal with it.

sean117Ply 10-25-2007 07:56 AM

I could swear my bristle nose pleco has blinked.

Lupin 10-25-2007 09:41 AM


Originally Posted by sean117Ply
I could swear my bristle nose pleco has blinked.

It still does not mean they have eyelids. I've observed plecs and cories doing this but on a closer look, they simply are moving their eyeballs rather than "blink" as fish in general do not possess eyelids.

sean117Ply 10-26-2007 03:18 AM

you must addmit, it looks like a blink. When I was looking close at him to see if it was a blink I realized how cute bristle nose plecs are :)

beetlebz 10-26-2007 10:51 AM

I tried getting a close look at my common plec once. when I got REALLY close he stabbed me in the kidney and took my wallet :(

but no, i see what you are saying. id swear my cories are blinking all day long!

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