Mechanisms underlying shoal composition in the Trinidadian guppy : Poecilia reticulata

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2003
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Croft, Darren P.
Arrowsmith, Bethany. J.
Bielby, Jon
Skinner, K.
White, E.
Magurran, Anne E.
Ramnarine, Indar W.
Krause, Jens
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Oikos. 2003, 100(3), pp. 429-438. ISSN 0030-1299. eISSN 1600-0706. Available under: doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.12023.x
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Free-ranging groups are frequently assorted by phenotypic characters. However, very little is known about the underlying processes that determine this structuring. In this study, we investigate the mechanisms underlying the phenotypic composition of shoals of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) in a high-predation stream in Trinidad's Northern Mountain Range. We collected 57 entire wild shoals, which were strongly assorted by body length. Shoal encounters staged within an experimental arena showed shoal fission (but not fusion) events to be an important mechanism in generating phenotypic assortment. In the wild, fission and fusion between guppy shoals occurred extremely frequently and thus are unlikely to constrain the opportunities for shoal assortment. However, fission and fusion processes occur under the restrictions imposed by the distribution of individuals within the environment. We observed size specific segregation within the habitat in three dimensions, providing a passive mechanism that contributes to the maintenance of the observed homogeneity of group composition. Furthermore sex differences were found in social behaviour. Individual male guppies switched between shoals more frequently than females and left a shoal more often than females. We argue that shoal composition is determined by habitat segregation on a medium spatial scale and by fission/fusion processes on a small spatial scale (with sex-specific shoal dynamics adding a additional layer of complexity).

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ISO 690CROFT, Darren P., Bethany. J. ARROWSMITH, Jon BIELBY, K. SKINNER, E. WHITE, Iain D. COUZIN, Anne E. MAGURRAN, Indar W. RAMNARINE, Jens KRAUSE, 2003. Mechanisms underlying shoal composition in the Trinidadian guppy : Poecilia reticulata. In: Oikos. 2003, 100(3), pp. 429-438. ISSN 0030-1299. eISSN 1600-0706. Available under: doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.12023.x
BibTex
@article{Croft2003-03Mecha-39960,
  year={2003},
  doi={10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.12023.x},
  title={Mechanisms underlying shoal composition in the Trinidadian guppy : Poecilia reticulata},
  number={3},
  volume={100},
  issn={0030-1299},
  journal={Oikos},
  pages={429--438},
  author={Croft, Darren P. and Arrowsmith, Bethany. J. and Bielby, Jon and Skinner, K. and White, E. and Couzin, Iain D. and Magurran, Anne E. and Ramnarine, Indar W. and Krause, Jens}
}
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