Brain Behavior and Evolution (Brain Behav Evol )

Publisher: Karger


Brain, Behavior and Evolutioní is a journal with a loyal following, high standards, and a unique identity as the main outlet for the continuing scientific discourse on the structure, function and evolution of the nervous system. Our goal for the Journal is to embrace the whole universe of disciplines from neuroscience to behavioral ecology that contribute to understanding nervous system evolution, and to encourage the application of cutting-edge techniques from all of them to advance this understanding. The journal publishes comparative neurobiological studies that focus on the morphology, physiology, and histochemistry of various neural structures, as well as aspects of psychology, ecology, and ethology in both vertebrates and invertebrates as they relate to nervous system structure, function, and evolution. In addition to original research reports, the journal contains review and theory papers. One issue each year is devoted to the proceedings of the annual Karger Workshop. This issue includes a series of related review papers on a current topic in the area of comparative neurobiology and the evolution of the brain and behavior.

Impact factor 2.89

  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    Brain, Behavior and Evolution website
  • Other titles
    Brain, behavior and evolution (Online)
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details


  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • On author's server or institutional server
    • Server must be non-commercial
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to publisher version
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Growing evidence suggests that gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) may play a key role in mediating vertebrate reproduction. GnIH inhibits gonadotropin synthesis and release by decreasing the activity of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons as well as by directly regulating gonadotropin secretion from the pituitary. Whereas the presence of GnIH has been widely investigated in various classes of vertebrates, there are very few immunohistochemical reports focusing on GnIH in amphibians. The aim of this study was to assess the presence and neuroanatomical distribution of GnIH-like immunoreactivity in the brain of the anuran amphibian Pelophylax (Rana) esculentus (esculenta) and to explore any potential anatomical relationship with mammalian GnRH-immunoreactive (mGnRH-ir) elements. The GnIH-like immunoreactive (GnIH-ir) system constitutes two distinct subpopulations in the telencephalon and diencephalon, with the highest number of immunoreactive cells located in the preoptic and suprachiasmatic areas. GnIH-ir neurons were also observed in the medial septum, the anterior commissure, the dorsal hypothalamus, the periventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, and the posterior tuberculum. Scattered GnIH-ir fibers were present in all major subdivisions of the brain but only occasionally in the median eminence. mGnRH-ir neurons were distributed in the mediobasal telencephalon, the medial septal area, and the anterior preoptic area. Double-label immunohistochemistry revealed that the GnRH and GnIH systems coexist and have overlapping distributions at the level of the anterior preoptic area. Some GnIH-ir fibers were in close proximity to mGnRH-ir cell bodies. Our results suggest that both the neuroanatomy and the functional regulation of GnRH release are conserved properties of the hypothalamic GnIH-ir system among vertebrate species.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 12/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous autoradiography studies illustrated that several areas of the avian brain can bind the pineal hormone melatonin. In birds, there are three melatonin receptor (MelR) subtypes: MelIa, MelIb and MelIc. To date, their brain distribution has not been studied in any passerine bird. Therefore, we investigated mRNA distribution of MelR subtypes in adjacent sections of the brain of two songbirds, the blackcap and the zebra finch, in parallel with that of 2-[(125)I]-iodomelatonin (IMEL) binding sites in the same brains. The general pattern of receptor expression shown by in situ hybridization of species-specific probes matched well with that of IMEL binding. However, the expression of the three subtypes was area specific with similar patterns in the two species. Some brain areas expressed only one receptor subtype, most brain regions co-expressed either MelIa with MelIb or MelIa with MelIc, whereas few areas expressed MelIb and MelIc or all three receptor subtypes. Since many sensory areas, most thalamic areas and subareas of the neopallium, a cortex analogue, express MelR, it is likely that most sensory motor integration functions are melatonin sensitive. Further, the area-specific expression patterns suggest that the regulatory role of melatonin differs among different brain areas. Since subareas of well-defined neural circuits, such as the visual system or the song control system, are equipped with different receptor types, we hypothesize a diversity of functions for melatonin in the control of sensory integration and behavior. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 11/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The diurnal Dipsadidae snakes Philodryas olfersii and P. patagoniensis are closely related in their phylogeny but inhabit different ecological niches. P. olfersii is arboreal, whereas P. patagoniensis is preferentially terrestrial. The goal of the present study was to compare the density and topography of neurons, photoreceptors, and cells in the ganglion cell layer in the retinas of these two species using immunohistochemistry and Nissl staining procedures and estimate the spatial resolving power of their eyes based on the ganglion cell peak density. Four morphologically distinct types of cones were observed by scanning electron microscopy, 3 of which were labeled with anti-opsin antibodies: large single cones and double cones labeled by the antibody JH492 and small single cones labeled by the antibody JH455. The average densities of photoreceptors and neurons in the ganglion cell layer were similar in both species (∼10,000 and 7,000 cells·mm(-2), respectively). The estimated spatial resolving power was also similar, ranging from 2.4 to 2.7 cycles·degree(-1). However, the distribution of neurons had different specializations. In the arboreal P. olfersii, the isodensity maps had a horizontal visual streak, with a peak density in the central region and a lower density in the dorsal retina. This organization might be relevant for locomotion and hunting behavior in the arboreal layer. In the terrestrial P. patagoniensis, a concentric pattern of decreasing cell density emanated from an area centralis located in the naso-ventral retina. Lower densities were observed in the dorsal region. The ventrally high density improves the resolution in the superior visual field and may be an important adaptation for terrestrial snakes to perceive the approach of predators from above. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 10/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Plasticity in the adult central nervous system has been described in all vertebrate classes as well as in some invertebrate groups. However, the limited taxonomic diversity represented in the current neurogenesis literature limits our ability to assess the functional significance of adult neurogenesis for natural behaviors as well as the evolution of its regulatory mechanisms. In the present study, we used free-ranging red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) to test the hypothesis that seasonal shifts in physiology and behavior are associated with seasonal variation in postembryonic neurogenesis. Specifically, we used the thymidine analog 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) to determine if the rates of cell proliferation in the adult brain vary between male snakes collected during spring and fall at 1, 5, and 10 days post-BrdU treatment. To assess rates of cell migration within the brain, we further categorized BrdU-labeled cells according to their location within the ventricular zone or parenchymal region. BrdU-labeled cells were localized mainly within the lateral, dorsal, and medial cortex, septal nucleus, nucleus sphericus, preoptic area, and hypothalamus. In all regions, the number of BrdU-labeled cells in the ventricular zone was higher in the fall compared to spring. In the parenchymal region, a significantly higher number of labeled cells was also observed during the fall, but only within the nucleus sphericus and the combined preoptic area/hypothalamus. The immunoreactive cell number did not vary significantly with days post-BrdU treatment in either season or in any brain region. While it is possible that the higher rates of cell proliferation in the fall simply reflect increased growth of all body tissues, including the brain, our data show that seasonal changes in cell migration into the parenchyma are region specific. In red-sided garter snakes and other reptiles, the dorsal and medial cortex is important for spatial navigation and memory, whereas the nucleus sphericus, septal nucleus, and preoptic area/hypothalamus are central to reproductive regulation. Thus, our results provide support for the hypothesis that adult neurogenesis plays a role in mediating seasonal rhythms in migratory and reproductive behaviors. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 10/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Detailed neuroanatomical studies of model species are necessary to facilitate comparative experiments which test hypotheses relevant to brain evolution and function. Butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae) boast numerous sympatric species that differ in social behavior, aggression and feeding ecology. However, the ability to test hypotheses relevant to brain function in this family is hindered by the lack of detailed neural descriptions. The cytoarchitecture of the telencephalon in the monogamous and territorial multiband butterflyfish, Chaetodon multicinctus, was determined with Nissl-stained serial sections and an immunohistochemical analysis of arginine vasotocin (AVT), serotonin, substance P and tyrosine hydroxylase. The ventral telencephalon was similar to that of other perciform fishes studied, with one major difference. A previously undescribed postcommissural region, the cuneate nucleus, was identified and putatively assigned to the ventral telencephalon. While the function of this nucleus is unknown, preliminary studies indicate that it may be part of a behaviorally relevant subpallial neural circuit that is modulated by AVT. The dorsal telencephalon consisted of 15 subdivisions among central, medial, lateral, dorsal and posterior zones. Several regions of the dorsal telencephalon of C. multicinctus differed from many other perciform fishes examined thus far. The nucleus taenia was in a more caudal position, and the central and lateral zones were enlarged. Within the lateral zone, an unusual third, ventral subdivision and a large-celled division were present. One hypothesis is that the enlarged ventral subdivision of the lateral zone (potential hippocampus homolog) relates to an enhancement of spatial learning or olfactory memory, which are important for this coral reef fish. This study provides the neuroanatomical basis for future comparative and evolutionary studies of brain organization and neuropeptide distributions, physiological studies of neural processing and insight into the complex social behavior of butterflyfishes. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 08/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Among fishes, acoustic communication is best studied in toadfishes, a single order and family that includes species commonly known as toadfish and midshipman. However, there is a lack of comparative anatomical and physiological studies, making it difficult to identify both shared and derived mechanisms of vocalization among toadfishes. Here, vocal nerve labeling and intracellular in vivo recording and staining delineated the hindbrain vocal network of the Gulf toadfish Opsanus beta. Dextran-biotin labeling of the vocal nerve or intracellular neurobiotin fills of motoneurons delineated a midline vocal motor nucleus (VMN). Motoneurons showed bilaterally extensive dendritic arbors both within and lateral to the paired motor nuclei. The motoneuron activity matched that of the spike-like vocal nerve motor volley that determines the natural call duration and frequency. Ipsilateral vocal nerve labeling with biocytin or neurobiotin yielded dense bilateral transneuronal filling of motoneurons and coextensive columns of premotor neurons. These premotor neurons generated pacemaker-like action potentials matched 1:1 with vocal nerve and motoneuron firing. Transneuronal transport further revealed connectivity within and between the pacemaker-motor circuit and a rostral prepacemaker nucleus. Unlike the pacemaker-motor circuit, prepacemaker firing did not match the frequency of vocal nerve activity but instead was predictive of the duration of the vocal nerve volley that codes for call duration. Transneuronally labeled terminal-like boutons also occurred in auditory-recipient hindbrain nuclei, including neurons innervating the inner ear and lateral line organs. Together with studies of midshipman, we propose that separate premotor populations coding vocal frequency and duration with direct premotor coupling to auditory-lateral line nuclei are plesiomorphic characters for toadfishes. Unlike in midshipman, transneuronal labeling in toadfishes reveals an expansive column of pacemaker neurons that is weakly coupled to prepacemaker neurons, a character that likely depends on the extent of gap junction coupling. We propose that these and other anatomical characters contribute to neurophysiological properties that, in turn, sculpt the species-typical patterning of frequency and amplitude-modulated vocalizations. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 08/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Across vertebrates, there is a broad correlation between neuroanatomy and the type of habitat preferred by a species. In general, species occupying habitats classified as more structurally complex have relatively larger brains and exaggerated structures related to navigating and exploiting those habitats. We empirically measured the structural habitat complexity of six species of Puerto Rican Anolis lizards, which have traditionally been classified as occupying three distinct habitat types. We also measured the volume of the whole brain as well as six structures putatively related to exploiting complex habitats in these species. We found a significant interspecific variation in structural habitat complexity, including a substantial variation between those belonging to the same ecomorph category. Despite this, we found no evidence to support the hypothesis that interspecific differences in habitat preferences, particularly differences in the relative structural complexity of those habitats, can favor a divergence in neuroanatomy. However, our findings indicate that, at a finer scale, species preferences for structural habitats vary greatly between Anolis species belonging to the same ecomorph category. This variation might contribute to the community structure of anoles by allowing multiple sympatric species of the same ecomorph category to occupy what, at a coarse scale, appears to be the same structural niche. We propose that, in the case of arboreal species, differences in the complexity of arboreal habitats alone may not be sufficient to favor divergent brain evolution. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 07/2014;
  • Brain Behavior and Evolution 07/2014;
  • Brain Behavior and Evolution 07/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The development of the visual system in anamniotic vertebrates is a continual process, allowing for ontogenetic changes in retinal topography and spatial resolving power. We examined the number and distribution of retinal ganglion cells in wholemounted retinae throughout the protracted embryonic development (∼5 months) of a chondrichthyan, i.e. the brown-banded bamboo shark Chiloscyllium punctatum, from the beginning of retinal cell differentiation (approximately halfway through embryogenesis) to adulthood. We also identified and quantified the number of apoptosed cells within the ganglion cell layer to evaluate the contribution of apoptosis to changes in retinal topography. C. punctatum undergoes rapid changes in ganglion cell distribution during embryogenesis, where high levels of apoptosis, especially around the retinal periphery, result in relative increases in ganglion cell density in the central retina which progressively extend nasally and temporally to form a meridional band at hatching. After hatching, C. punctatum forms and maintains a horizontal streak, showing only minor changes in topography during growth, with basal levels of apoptosis. The total number of retinal ganglion cells reaches 547,881 in adult sharks, but the mean (3,228 cells·mm(-2)) and peak (4,983 cells·mm(-2)) retinal ganglion cell densities are highest around the time of hatching. Calculated estimates of spatial resolving power, based on ganglion cell spacing (assuming a hexagonal mosaic) and assessment of the focal length from cryosections of the eye, increase from 1.47 cycles·degree(-1) during embryogenesis to 4.29 cycles·degree(-1) in adults. The increase in spatial resolving power across the retinal meridian would allow this species to hunt and track faster, more mobile prey as it reaches maturity. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 07/2014;
  • Brain Behavior and Evolution 06/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Frequency alternation in the echolocation of insectivorous bats has been interpreted in relation to ranging and duty cycle, i.e. advantages for echolocation. The shifts in frequency of the calls of these so-called two-tone bats, however, may also play its role in the success of their hunting behavior for a preferred prey, the tympanate moth. How the auditory receptors (e.g. the A1 and A2 cells) in the moth's ear detect such frequency shifts is currently unknown. Here, we measured the auditory responses of the A1 cell in the noctuid Spodoptera frugiperda to the echolocation hunting sequence of Molossus molossus, a two-tone bat. We also manipulated the bat calls to control for the frequency shifts by lowering the frequency band of the search and approach calls. The firing response of the A1 receptor cell significantly decreases with the shift to higher frequencies during the search and approach phases of the hunting sequence of M. molossus; this could be explained by the receptor's threshold curve. The frequency dependence of the decrease in the receptor's response is supported by the results attained with the manipulated sequence: search and approach calls with the same minimum frequency are detected by the moth at the same threshold intensity. The two-tone bat M. molossus shows a call frequency alternation behavior that may enable it to overcome moth audition even in the mid-frequency range (i.e. 20-50 kHz) where moths hear best. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 06/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In female grasshoppers, oviposition is a highly specialized behavior involving a rhythm-generating neural circuit, the oviposition central pattern generator, unusual abdominal appendages, and dedicated muscles. This study of Schistocerca americana (Drury) grasshoppers was undertaken to determine whether the simpler pregenital abdominal segments, which do not contain ovipositor appendages, share common features with the genital segment, suggesting a roadmap for the genesis of oviposition behavior. Our study revealed that although 5 of the standard pregenital body wall muscles were missing in the female genital segment, homologous lateral nerves were, indeed, present and served 4 ovipositor muscles. Retrograde labeling of the corresponding pregenital nerve branches in male and female grasshoppers revealed motor neurons, dorsal unpaired median neurons, and common inhibitor neurons which appear to be structural homologues of those filled from ovipositor muscles. Some pregenital motor neurons displayed pronounced contralateral neurites; in contrast, some ovipositor motor neurons were exclusively ipsilateral. Strong evidence of structural homology was also obtained for pregenital and ovipositor skeletal muscles supplied by the identified neurons and of the pregenital and ovipositor skeletons. For example, transient embryonic segmental appendages were maintained in the female genital segments, giving rise to ovipositor valves, but were lost in pregenital abdominal segments. Significant proportional differences in sternal apodemes and plates were observed, which partially obscure the similarities between the pregenital and genital skeletons. Other changes in reorganization included genital muscles that displayed adult hypertrophy, 1 genital muscle that appeared to represent 2 fused pregenital muscles, and the insertion points of 2 ovipositor muscles that appeared to have been relocated. Together, the comparisons support the idea that the oviposition behavior of genital segments is built upon a homologous, segmentally iterated motor infrastructure located in the pregenital abdomen of male and female grasshoppers. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 06/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: With the evolution of a relatively large brain size in haplorhine primates (i.e. tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans), there have been associated changes in the molecular machinery that delivers energy to the neocortex. Here we investigated variation in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) expression and isoenzyme composition of the neocortex and striatum in primates using quantitative Western blotting and isoenzyme analysis of total homogenates and synaptosomal fractions. Analysis of isoform expression revealed that LDH in synaptosomal fractions from both forebrain regions shifted towards a predominance of the heart-type, aerobic isoform LDH-B among haplorhines as compared to strepsirrhines (i.e. lorises and lemurs), while in the total homogenate of the neocortex and striatum there was no significant difference in LDH isoenzyme composition between the primate suborders. The largest increase occurred in synapse-associated LDH-B expression in the neocortex, with an especially remarkable elevation in the ratio of LDH-B/LDH-A in humans. The phylogenetic variation in the ratio of LDH-B/LDH-A was correlated with species-typical brain mass but not the encephalization quotient. A significant LDH-B increase in the subneuronal fraction from haplorhine neocortex and striatum suggests a relatively higher rate of aerobic glycolysis that is linked to synaptosomal mitochondrial metabolism. Our results indicate that there is a differential composition of LDH isoenzymes and metabolism in synaptic terminals that evolved in primates to meet increased energy requirements in association with brain enlargement. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Brain Behavior and Evolution 03/2014;