Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 155–160 | Cite as

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

  • Ashley J. W. WardEmail author
  • Alison J. Duff
  • Jens Krause
  • Iain Barber


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 aculeatus schooling parasites energetics 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley J. W. Ward
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Alison J. Duff
    • 1
  • Jens Krause
    • 1
  • Iain Barber
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LeedsLeedsU.K.
  2. 2.Institute of Biological SciencesUniversity of Wales AberystwythAberystwyth, Ceredigion, WalesU.K.
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of LeicesterU.K.

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