Larval zebrafish innately perform a suite of behaviors that are tightly linked to their evolutionary past, notably escape from threatening stimuli and pursuit and capture of prey. These behaviors have been carefully examined in the past, but mostly with regard to the movements of the trunk and tail of the larvae. Here, we employ kinematics analyses to describe the movements of the pectoral fins during escape and predatory behavior. In accord with previous studies, we find roles for the pectoral fins in slow swimming and immediately after striking prey. We find novel roles for the pectoral fins in long-latency, but not in short-latency C-bends. We also observe fin movements that occur during orienting J-turns and S-starts that drive high-velocity predatory strikes. Finally, we find that the use of pectoral fins following a predatory strike is scaled to the velocity of the strike, supporting a role for the fins in braking. The implications of these results for central control of coordinated movements are discussed, and we hope that these results will provide baselines for future analyses of cross-body coordination using mutants, morphants, and transgenic approaches.
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