Advertisement

Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 25–29 | Cite as

Effects of alarm substance on schooling in the common shiner (Notropis cornutus, Cyprinidae)

  • Eva J. Heczko
  • Benoni H. Seghers
Article

Synopsis

The behavioral responses of common shiners (Notropis cornutus) to ‘Schreckstoff’ (alarm pheromone produced in the epidermis) were quantified in laboratory experiments. Schreckstoff increased cohesion and polarization, and decreased the variability in overall school dimensions. There was also a positive correlation between size of fish and their distance to the center of the school. Furthermore, the tendency to seek cover increased in the presence of Schreckstoff. The greater organization in school structure appears to be an adaptive response to aquatic predators, whereas increased cover seeking may be an adaptive response to aerial predators.

Keywords

Schreckstoff Fright reaction Pheromone Antipredator mechanisms Cover-seeking Fish 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Aoki, I. & T. Kuroki. 1975. Alarm reaction of three Japanese cyprinid fishes,Tribolodon hakonensis, Gnathopogon elongatus elongatus, Rhodeus ocellatus ocellatus. Bull. Jap. Soc. Sci. Fish. 41: 507–513.Google Scholar
  2. Edmunds, M. 1974: Defence in animals. Longman, Harlow. 357 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Frish, K. von. 1938. Zur Psychologie des Fish-Schwarmes. Die Naturwissenschaften 26: 601–606.Google Scholar
  4. Frisch, K. von. 1941. Über einen Schreckstoff der Fischhaut and seine biologische Bedeutung. Z. vergl. Physiol. 29: 46–145.Google Scholar
  5. Heczko, E. 1980. The effect of Schreckstoff on the behavior of the common shiner (Notropis cornutus, Cyprinidae). M.Sc. Thesis, University of Western Ontario, London. 67 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Hobson, E.S. 1968. Predatory behavior of some inshore fishes in the Gulf of California. U.S. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. Research Report 73.Google Scholar
  7. Keenleyside, M.H.A. 1955. Some aspects of the schooling behaviour of fish. Behaviour 8: 183–248.Google Scholar
  8. Kushlan, J.A. 1978. Feeding ecology of wading birds. pp 249–297. In: A. Sprunt, J.C. Ogden, S. Winckler (ed.) Wading birds, Research Report # 7 of the National Audubon Society.Google Scholar
  9. Marusov, Ye.A. 1976. Fright reaction in the predatory cyprinidOpsariichthys uncirostris amunsis. J. Ich. 16: 685–688.Google Scholar
  10. Milinski, M. 1977. Experiments on the selection by predators against spatial oddity of their prey. Z. Tierpsychol. 43: 311–325.Google Scholar
  11. Mueller, H.C. 1971. Oddity and specific search image more important than conspicuousness in prey selection. Nature 233: 345–346.Google Scholar
  12. Pfeiffer, W. 1962. The fright reaction of fish. Biol. Rev. 37: 495–511.Google Scholar
  13. Pfeiffer, W. 1963a. The fright reaction in North American fish. Can. J. Zool. 41: 69–77.Google Scholar
  14. Pfeiffer, W. 1963b. Alarm substances. Experientia 19: 113–123.Google Scholar
  15. Pfeiffer, W. 1975. Fluorescent pterins from the skin of Cypriniformes (Pisces) and their relation to the alarm pheromone. Rev. Suisse Zool. 82: 705–711.Google Scholar
  16. Pfeiffer, W. 1977. The distribution of fright reaction and alarm substance cells in fishes. Copeia 1977: 653–665.Google Scholar
  17. Pfeiffer, W. 1978. Heterocyclic compounds as releasers of the fright reaction in the giant danio,Danio malabaricus (Jerdon) (Cyprinidae, Ostariophysi, Pisces). J. Chem. Ecol. 4: 665–673.Google Scholar
  18. Pfeiffer, W. & D. Lamour. 1976. The action of the alarm substance on the heart frequency ofPhoxinus phoxinus (Cyprinidae, Ostariophysi, Pisces). Rev. Suisse Zool. 83: 861–873.Google Scholar
  19. Pfeiffer, W. & J. Lemke. 1973. Untersuchungen zur Isolierung and Identifizierung des Schreckstoffes aus der Haut der ElritzePhoxinus phoxinus (Cyprinidae, Ostariophysi, Pisces). J. Comp. Physiol. 82: 407–410.Google Scholar
  20. Pfeiffer, W. & G. Riegelbauer. 1978. The effect of the alarm substance on the central nervous excitation of the black tetraGymnocorymbus ternetzi (Characidae, Ostariophysi, Pisces) indicated by dorsal light response. J. Comp. Physiol. 123: 281–288.Google Scholar
  21. Salyer, J.C. & K.F. Lagler. 1940. The food habits of the American merganser during winter in Michigan, considered in relation to fish management. J. Wildl. Manage. 4: 189–219.Google Scholar
  22. Salyer, J.C. & K.F. Lagler. 1946. The eastern belted kingfisherMegaceryle alcyon alcyon (Linnaeus), in relation to fish management. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 76: 97–117.Google Scholar
  23. Seghers, B.H. 1974. Schooling behavior in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata): an evolutionary response to predation. Evol. 28: 486–489.Google Scholar
  24. Shaw, E. 1978. Schooling fishes. Amer. Sci 66: 166–175.Google Scholar
  25. Smith, R.J.F. 1977. Chemical communication as adaptation: alarm substance of fish. pp. 303–320. In: D. Müller-Schwarze & M.M. Mozell (ed.) Chemical Signals in Vertebrates, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Thines, G. & E. Vandenbussche. 1966. The effects of alarm substance on the schooling behavior ofRasbora heteromorpha Duncker in day and night conditions. Anim. Behav. 14: 296–302.Google Scholar
  27. Van Olst, J.C. & J.R. Hunter. 1970. Some aspects of the organization of fish schools. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 27: 1225–1238.Google Scholar
  28. Verheijen, F.J. 1956. Transmission of a flight reaction amongst a school of fish and the underlying sensory mechanisms. Experientia 12: 202–204.Google Scholar
  29. Verheijen, F.J. 1962a. Gas spitting by alarmed fish disturbs their hydrostatic equilibrium. Science 137: 864–865.Google Scholar
  30. Verheijen, F.J. 1962b. Alarm substance and intraspecific predation in cyprinids. Die Naturwissenschaften 49: 356.Google Scholar
  31. Verheijen, F.J. 1963. Alarm substances in some North American cyprinid fish. Copeia 1963: 174–175.Google Scholar
  32. Verheijen, F.J. & J.H. Reuter. 1969. The effect of alarm substance on predation among cyprinids Anim. Behav. 17: 551–554.Google Scholar
  33. Williams, G.C. 1964. Measurement of consociation among fishes and comments on the evolution of schooling. Publ. Mus. Mich. State Univ. Biol. Series 2: 349–384.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b.v. Publishers 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva J. Heczko
    • 1
  • Benoni H. Seghers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

Personalised recommendations