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Social familiarity and shoal formation in juvenile fishes

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The potential influence of social familiarity in shoal-choice decisions was investigated in two sympatric species of north temperate fishes, juvenile banded killifish Fundulus diaphanus and juvenile bluegill sunfish Lepomis macrochirus. Groups of socially familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics were formed in the laboratory using wild-caught fishes. Juvenile F. diaphanus demonstrated a strong preference for familiar conspecific shoalmates, whereas juvenile L. macrochirus exhibited no preference for either unfamiliar or familiar conspecific shoalmates. The differential influence of familiarity on shoalmate choice in juveniles of these two species could be due to their different ecologies, local population densities and life histories.

Keywords: Fundulus diaphanus; Lepomis macrochirus; juvenile banded killifish; juvenile bluegill sunfish; shoaling

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Department of Biology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6 Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2010


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