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


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.


Schreckstoff Fright reaction Pheromone Antipredator mechanisms Cover-seeking Fish 


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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

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