Acoustical conditioning and retention in the common carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Jami L. Sloan, Elise B. Cordo, Allen Mensinger

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15 Scopus citations


Classical acoustic conditioning was investigated with the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) to determine its potential as a management tool for this invasive species. Groups of five juvenile carp were trained to associate a 400. Hz pure tone stimulus with a food reward in small laboratory tanks (≤ 1000. L). Following three days of training, the majority of fish showed a consistent and rapid (< 30. s) ability to localize the sound. All groups (n = 5) displayed retention without subsequent reinforcement for at least four months, and three groups maintained the conditioned behavior after 5. months. Additional trials were conducted in a 24,000. L outdoor pool to mimic more natural conditions. Carp again displayed relatively short learning curves and high accuracy (84.4%) in localizing the sound source. These findings indicate that carp are readily conditioned to an acoustic signal and are able to retain this behavior for months, suggesting that acoustical conditioning may be used as a management strategy in which the movement of wild carp can be manipulated for trapping and removal within a lake system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-512
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Tom Hrabik, Stephanie Guildford, Michael Lynch and Jared Leino for insightful comments on the manuscript. Brian Sloan, Lauren Schulberg, Dan Larson and Jessica Schul provided lab assistance. Graduate student funding was provided by a teaching assistantship through the University of Minnesota-Duluth Biology Department and the National Science Foundation's GK-12 Math and Science Graduate Students in Education Fellowship .

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Acoustical conditioning
  • Common carp
  • Cyprinus carpio
  • Management
  • Retention
  • Training


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