, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 437-443

Schooling decisions in guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are based on familiarity rather than kin recognition by phenotype matching

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Evidence from a number of freshwater species indicates that fish prefer to school with familiar individuals. Do they also choose to associate with kin? Our experiment tested this idea using the Trinidadian guppy, Poecilia reticulata, a species whose reproductive biology favours the association of kin groups. Juveniles reared together were able to recognise one another on the basis of either visual or chemical cues, but showed no preference for schooling with unfamiliar kin. We therefore conclude that any naturally occurring kin groups in this species will occur as a result of familiarity rather than as a consequence of kin recognition based on phenotype matching.

Received: 23 June 1998 / Accepted after revision: 5 January 1999