The function of agonistic display behaviours in Gnathonemus petersii
In pairs of interacting Gnathonemus petersii, a mormyrid electric fish, dominant individuals were larger (longer body). Pairs of interacting fish of similar body size emitted more parallel displays at the onset of an interaction. Over the course of 10 min interactions, head butting increased and parallel display decreased. This decrease occurred primarily in pairs that contained a prior resident and intruder, as compared with two intruders. The patterns of electric organ discharge during parallel display, and the possible sensory modalities mediating this behaviour are discussed.
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