The pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis acquires conditioned taste aversion (CTA) and maintains its memory for more than a month. Snails in our laboratory were cultured at 20°C on a 12:12 light-dark cycle (light from 7 am to 7 pm). To examine the hours during which snails acquire CTA effectively, we trained some snails in the morning and others in the afternoon, and then compared their scores. CTA developed in both cases, but scores were significantly better in the morning than in the afternoon. To elucidate the cause of this difference in scores, we observed the voluntary activity of snails and found the circadian rhythm reflected in the snails' free-movement distances; distances at the circadian time 0-12 (daytime) were significantly longer than those at the circadian time 12-24 (nighttime). This rhythm was kept up for at least 3 days, even in constant darkness. In conclusion, L. stagnalis should be trained in the morning to acquire associative learning, possibly because of its greater propensity to roam about at that time as opposed to the afternoon.
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