Clustering: Non-Agonistic Group Contact in Territorial Reef Fishes, with Special Reference to the Sea of Cortez Damselfish, Eupomacentrus Rectifraenum
Abstract:Sea of Cortez damselfish, Eupomacentrus rectifraenum, periodically depart from their usual behavior of strongly defended, individual territories to form short-term aggregates of from 2 to 12 interacting adults. Such “clusters” occur most frequently just after dawn and can occur anywhere in a group of damselfish territories. During such clusters, individual fish assume an apparent appeasement coloration and mill about, chasing one another briefly. Similar behavior has been described for several other benthic damselfishes and two other territorial reef fishes, and has generally been considered somehow related to reproduction. An alternate hypothesis, that it serves to help stabilize social systems based on territoriality by facilitating mutual habituation of aggressive levels between participants, is discussed.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1980-03-01
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