Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 155–160

Shoaling behaviour of sticklebacks infected with the microsporidian parasite, Glugea anomala


    • University of Leeds
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Leicester
  • Alison J. Duff
    • University of Leeds
  • Jens Krause
    • University of Leeds
  • Iain Barber
    • Institute of Biological SciencesUniversity of Wales Aberystwyth

DOI: 10.1007/s10641-004-9078-1

Cite this article as:
Ward, A.J.W., Duff, A.J., Krause, J. et al. Environ Biol Fish (2005) 72: 155. doi:10.1007/s10641-004-9078-1


We compared the shoaling behaviour of three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, infected with the microsporidian, Glugea anomala, to that of non-infected conspecifics. Infected fish lost significantly more weight than non-infected fish during a period of food deprivation, suggesting a metabolic cost to parasitism. In binary shoal choice tests, non-infected test fish showed an association preference for a shoal of non-infected over a shoal of infected conspecifics; infected test fish displayed no preference. Infected fish, however, showed a higher overall tendency to shoal than non-parasitised fish. Furthermore, infected fish occupied front positions within a mixed school. We consider the behavioural differences between infected and uninfected fish in the context of their potential benefits to the fish hosts and the parasites.


Gasterosteus aculeatusschoolingparasitesenergetics

Copyright information

© Springer 2005