Advertisement

Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 12, pp 3051–3061 | Cite as

Fathead minnows use chemical cues to discriminate natural shoalmates from unfamiliar conspecifics

  • Grant E. Brown
  • R. Jan F. Smith
Article

Abstract

Naturally occurring shoals of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were captured and individuals given the choice between shoalmates and unfamiliar conspecifics in a two-choice discrimination test. When presented with chemosensory cues alone or with both chemosensory and visual cues, minnows exhibited a significant preference for shoalmates versus unfamiliar conspecifics. With visual cues alone, there was no significant discrimination of shoalmates. A second set of trials was conducted to ensure that minnows were choosing natural shoalmates and not just individuals with which they were held in the laboratory. When given the choice between unfamiliar conspecifics and shoalmates from which they were separated for a minimum of two months, minnows exhibited a significant preference for shoalmates. Taken together, these data suggest that fathead minnows are able to discriminate among conspecifics on the basis of familiarity using chemosensory cues, even after a relatively long separation. The ability to discriminate among conspecifics may facilitate: (1) the maintenance of kin groups or groups that share similar foraging or predator avoidance patterns or (2) the recognition of former shoalmates after some period of separation.

Key Words

Fathead minnow Pimephales promelas familiar recognition alarm signaling kin selection 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Beecher, M.D., Beecher, I.M., andLumpkin, S. 1981. Parent-offspring recognition in bank swallows(Riparia riparia): I Natural history.Anim. Behav. 29:86–94.Google Scholar
  2. Blaustein, A.R., andWaldman, B. 1992. Kin recognition in anuran amphibians.Anim. Behav. 44:207–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, G.E., andBrown, J.A. 1992. Do rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon discriminate kin?Can. J. Zool. 70:1636–1640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, G.E., andBrown, J.A. 1993a. Social dynamics in salmonid fishes: do kin make better neighbours?Anim. Behav. 45:863–871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown, G.E., andBrown, J.A. 1993b. Do kin always make better neighbours?: The effects of territory quality.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 33:225–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, G.E., Chivers, D.P., andSmith, R.J.F. 1994. Localized defecation by pike: A response to labelling by cyprinid alarm pheromone?Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. In press.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, J.A., andColgan, P.W. 1986. Individual and species recognition in centrarchid fishes: evidence and hypotheses.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 19:373–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chivers, D.P., andSmith, R.J.F. 1994a. Fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) learn to recognize chemical stimuli from high risk habitats by the presence of alarm substance.Behav. Ecol. In press.Google Scholar
  9. Chivers, D.P., andSmith, R.J.F. 1994b. The role of experience and chemical alarm signalling in predator recognition by fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas).J. Fish Biol. 44:273–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chivers, D.P., Biown, G.E., andSmith, R.J.F. 1994. Familiarity and shoal cohesion in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas): implications for anti-predator behaviour.Can. J. Zool. Submitted.Google Scholar
  11. Cole, K.S., andSmith, R.J.F. 1987. Release of chemicals by prostaglandin-treated female fathead minnows,Pimephales promelas, that stimulate male courtship.Hormone Behav. 21:440–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cole, K.S., andSmith, R.J.F. 1992. Attraction of female fathead minnows,Pimephales promelas, to chemical stimuli from breeding males.J. Chem. Ecol. 18:1269–1284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cooke, F. 1978. Early learning and its effect on population structure. Studies of a wild population of snow geese.Z. Tierpsychol. 46:344–358.Google Scholar
  14. Dewsbury, D.A. 1982. Avoidance if incestuous breeding between siblings in two species ofPeromyscus mice.Biol. Behav. 7:157–169.Google Scholar
  15. Ferguson, M.M., andNoakes, D.L.G. 1981. Social grouping and genetic variation in common shiners,Notropis cornutus (Pisces, Cyprinidae).Environ. Biol. Fish. 6:357–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fletcher, D.J.C. 1987. The behavioural analysis of kin recognition: perspectives on methodology and interpretation, pp. 19–54,in D.J.C. Fletcher and C.D. Michener (eds.). Kin Recognition in Animals. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.Google Scholar
  17. Grau, J.H. 1982. Kin recognition in white-footed deermice (Peromyscus leucopus).Anim. Behav. 30:497–505.Google Scholar
  18. Mathis, A., andSmith, R.J.F. 1993a. Fathead minnows,Pimephales promelas, learn to recognize northern pike,Esox lucius, as predators on the basis of chemical stimuli from minnows in the pike's diet.Anim. Behav. 46:645–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mathis, A., andSmith, R.J.F. 1993b. Chemical labelling of northern pike (Esox lucius) by the alarm pheromone of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas).J. Chem. Ecol. 19:1967–1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Miklosi, A., Haller, J., andCsanyi, V. 1992. Different duration of memory for conspecific and heterospecific fish in the paradise fish (Macropodus opercularus L.).Ethology 90:29–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Naish, K.-A., Carvalho, G.R., andPitcher, T.J. 1993. The genetic structure and microdistribution of shoals ofPhoxinus phoxinus, the European minnow.J. Fish. Biol. 43 (Suppl. A):75–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Olsén, K.H. 1986. Chemoattraction between juveniles of two sympatric stocks of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus (L)) and their gene frequencies of serum esterases.J. Fish Biol. 28:255–265.Google Scholar
  23. Pfennig, D.W. 1990. “Kin recognition” among spadefoot toad tadpoles: A side effect of habitat selection?Evolution 44:785–798.Google Scholar
  24. Porter, R.H., andBlaustein, A.R. 1989. Mechanisms and ecological correlates of kin recognition.Sci. Prog. Oxf. 73:53–66.Google Scholar
  25. Quinn, T.P., andBusack, C.A. 1985. Chemosensory recognition of siblings in juvenile coho salmon, (Oncorhynchus kisutch).Anim. Behav. 33:51–56.Google Scholar
  26. Schwagmeyer, P.L. 1988. Ground squirrel kin recognition abilities: Are there social and life-history correlates?Behav. Genet. 18:495–510.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Scott, W.B., andCrossman, E.J. 1973. Freshwater Fishes of Canada.Can. Bull. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 184:966 pp.Google Scholar
  28. Siegel, S. 1956. Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioural Sciences, 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  29. Smith, R.J.F. 1973. Testosterone eliminates alarm substance cells in male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas).Can. J. Zool. 51:875–876.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Smith, R.J.F. 1977. Chemical communication as adaptation: Alarm substance of fish, pp. 303–320,in D. Müller-Schwarze and M.M. Mozell (eds.). Chemical Signals in Vertebrates. Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  31. Smith, R.J.F. 1986. The evolution of chemical alarm signals in fishes, pp. 99–115,in D. Duvall, D. Müller-Schwarze, and R.M. Silverstein (eds.). Chemical Signals in Vertebrates, Vol. 4. Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  32. Smith, R.J.F. 1992. Alarm signals in fishes.Rev. Fish Biol. Fish. 2:33–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stabell, O.B. 1987. Intraspecific pheromone discrimination and substrate marking by Atlantic salmon parr.J. Chem. Ecol. 13:1625–1643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Van Havre, N., andFitzGerald, G.J. 1988. Shoaling and kin recognition in the threespine stickleback, (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.).Biol. Behav. 13:190–201.Google Scholar
  35. Waas, J.R., andColgan, P.W. 1994. Male sticklebacks can distinguish between familiar rivals on the basis of visual cues alone.Anim. Behav. 47:7–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Waldman, B. 1982. Sibling associations among schooling toad tadpoles: Field evidence and implications.Anim. Behav. 30:700–713.Google Scholar
  37. Wilson, E.O. 1987. Kin recognition: an introductory synopsis, pp. 7–18,in D.J.C. Fletcher and C.D. Michener (eds.). Kin Recognition in Animals. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grant E. Brown
    • 1
  • R. Jan F. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

Personalised recommendations