Journal of Ethology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 181–190 | Cite as

Inspection behaviour and inter-individual cooperation in juvenile qingbo: the effects of prior predator exposure and food deprivation

  • Zhong-Hua Tang
  • Qingyi Wu
  • Shi-Jian Fu


The predation pressure and food availability to which individuals are exposed during their life histories shape inspection behaviour in animals. In this study, we aimed to test whether such behaviours varied with prior experience (predation, starvation or both treatments) or measurement condition (with or without the presence of a predator; here, the snakehead fish, Channa argus) in the fish species Spinibarbus sinensis, known as qingbo. Unexpectedly, prior predator experience showed no significant effect on inspection behaviour as demonstrated by either the frequency or the duration of each activity outside shelter or on cooperation as demonstrated by the inter-individual distance or synchronization of speed. This may have been due to the different adjustments in behaviour among individuals (more shelter use vs. more inspection), the predator treatment used in the present study (exposure to caged predator rather than direct predation) and/or a species-specific strategy in the qingbo. The starved fish displayed shorter inspection latency, increased inspection behaviour and greater cooperation when measured without the predator; however, when measured in the presence of the predator, the starved fish showed increased inspection frequency but shorter inspection duration, possibly due to the compromise between energy needs and predation risk. Similar to those of the predation group, the fish from the double-treated group showed no difference in inspection behaviour compared to the control group under the predator-absent condition, while the high-frequency, short-duration inspection behaviours remained the same as in the starved group. These findings suggested that the adjustment of inspection behaviour and related cooperation are rather complicated according to either predator experience or food deprivation, partially due to the inter-individual differences in behavioural adjustment and/or different environmental conditions.


Collaboration Forage Trade off Channa argus Predation pressure Food availability 


Compliance with ethical standards


This study was funded by National Science Foundation of China (NSFC 31670418) and Chongqing Postgraduate Scientific Research and Innovation Project (CYS17183).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This study complied with the current law of the country in which it was performed and was approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee of the Key Laboratory of Animal Biology of Chongqing (permit number Zhao-20151010-01). The study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Animals at the Key Laboratory of Animal Biology of Chongqing, China. All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

10164_2018_550_MOESM1_ESM.docx (44 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 43 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chongqing Key Laboratory of Animal Science, Laboratory of Evolutionary Physiology and BehaviorChongqing Normal UniversityChongqingChina

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