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Schooling properties of an obligate and a facultative fish species

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Changes in attraction and repulsion indicators, depending on the species and the group size, were explored under controlled conditions. Two species, displaying different schooling behaviours in the wild were observed: the bigeye scad Selar crumenophthalmus and the barred flagtail Kuhlia mugil. In the bigeye scad, the polarity and speed were high and stable, and the nearest neighbour distance (DNN) decreased when the group size increased. In contrast, for the barred flagtail, polarity and speed decreased according to the group size, inducing a loss of cohesion and leading to a disorganized school. The DNN mean was stable whatever the group size and relatively high. This experiment indicated that the ability to polarize is first a species-specific trait, rather than a property emerging from the group and led by the circumstances.
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Keywords: pelagic fishes; polarity; schooling behaviour; social interactions

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: IRD, Centre de Recherche Halieutique, Avenue Jean Monnet, BP 171, 34203 Sète Cedex, France 2: IRD, BP A5, 98848 Nouméa Cedex, Nouvelle-Calédonie, France

Publication date: 01 November 2007

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