The social cost of shoaling covaries with predation risk in nine-spined stickleback, Pungitius pungitius, populations

G. Herczeg, Abigél Gonda, Juha Merilä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The main benefit of grouping is reduced predation risk, while the main costs are thought to derive from competition and increased frequency of social interactions. While the benefits of grouping are well known, its costs have rarely been studied. We studied growth of nine-spined sticklebacks from two marine (high-predation) and two pond (low-predation) populations by rearing them either individually or in groups from hatching until they reached adult size. We found that living in groups had a strong (up to 14%) negative effect on growth in fish from low-predation populations, despite the lack of constraints originating from resource limitation, predation, reproduction or parasites. Group living had no effect on the growth of fish from high-predation populations. We also studied willingness to shoal: fish from all populations showed strong shoaling behaviour. Our results suggest that the social cost of shoaling can be high, but individuals from high-predation populations seem to have adapted to minimize these costs better than individuals from low-predation populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-580
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume77
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

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Pungitius pungitius
Gasterosteidae
predation risk
predation
fish
cost
social cost
rearing
hatching
parasite
pond
parasites
resource

Keywords

  • cost
  • evolution
  • grouping
  • growth
  • nine-spined stickleback
  • predation
  • Pungitius pungitius
  • schooling
  • shoaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

The social cost of shoaling covaries with predation risk in nine-spined stickleback, Pungitius pungitius, populations. / Herczeg, G.; Gonda, Abigél; Merilä, Juha.

In: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 77, No. 3, 03.2009, p. 575-580.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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