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Information and aggression in fishes

Abstract

Aggressive interactions between fishes commonly take place in a social environment in which uninvolved individuals (bystanders) have an opportunity to gather information about interactants. Signals frequently used during such interactions are designed to transmit information about resource-holding power and/or intention. They are generally related to the level of escalation reached and the eventual outcome of a fight. We consider here the information available in signaling and nonsignaling aspects of aggressive interactions. We focus, in particular, on information available to bystanders. We summarize evidence that bystanders alter their behavior toward interactants on the basis of information acquired while bystanding, and we discuss the sources of information that may result in this change of behavior. In particular, we distinguisheavesdropping (i.e., extracting information from signaling interactions) as a subset ofbystanding (i.e., extracting information from all available sources). We conclude that considerations of aggressive strategies should include potential costs and benefits resulting from wider social contexts in which aggression occurs.

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Correspondence to Tom M. Peake.

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T.M.P was supported by the Zoological Institute, Copenhagen University, and P.K.M. was supported by Marie Curie Fellowship HPMCFCT-2002-01999 from the European Union and by Statens Naturvidenskablige Forskningsråd Grant 21-01-0482. We thank Ryan Earley, Luc-Alain Giraldeau, Karen Hollis, Ricardo Matos, Rui Oliveira, Ingo Schlupp, and Jeff Galef for comments that improved the manuscript.

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Peake, T.M., Mcgregor, P.K. Information and aggression in fishes. Animal Learning & Behavior 32, 114–121 (2004). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03196012

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Keywords

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Aggressive Interaction
  • Electric Organ Discharge
  • Aggressive Encounter
  • Siamese Fighting Fish