Fish can determine their social rank by observation alone, study finds

A male fish can size up potential rivals, and even rank them from strongest to weakest, simply by watching how they perform in territorial fights with other males, according to a new study by Stanford University scientists. The researchers say their discovery provides the first direct evidence that fish, like people, can use logical reasoning to figure out their place in the pecking order.

The study, published in the Jan. 25 edition of the journal Nature, is based on a unique experiment with cichlids (SIK-lids), small territorial fish from Africa. "In their natural habitat, male cichlids are constantly trying to ascend socially by beating each other up," said study co-author Russell D. Fernald, professor of biological sciences at Stanford. "It would be really valuable for them to know in advance who to pick a fight with."

The Nature experiment was designed by lead author Logan Grosenick, a graduate student in statistics at Stanford, and Tricia S. Clement, a former postdoctoral fellow. Their goal was to determine whether territorial fish use a type of reasoning called "transitive inference," in which known relationships serve as the basis for understanding unfamiliar ones.

"Transitive inference is essential to logical reasoning," Fernald explained. "It's something that kids generally figure out by age 4 or 5--Mary is taller than Fred, Fred is taller than Pete, therefore Mary is taller than Pete. It's been demonstrated in primates, rats and some bird species, but how and why it evolved in animals is a matter of debate."

Aggressive bouts

In the experiment, the Stanford team used a popular laboratory fish called Astatotilapia burtoni, one of many cichlid species that inhabit Lake Tanganyika in eastern Africa. A. burtoni males are extremely territorial and regularly engage in aggressive fights, the outcome of which determines who gets access to food and mates.

"Males that repeatedly lose fights ar

Contact: Mark Shwartz
Stanford University

Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. What determines the speed at which birds fly?
2. HWI researchers determine structure of protein from pathogen associated with CF and TB
3. MIT tool determines landslide risk in tropics
4. Left-right wiring determined by neural communication in the embryonic worm
5. Researcher to determine why oil still remains from Exxon Valdez
6. Stem cells determine their daughters fate
7. FSU researchers determine a critical factor in workings of proteins
8. Columbia scientists determine 3-dimensional structure of cells fuel gauge
9. Human preference for other species could determine whether they survive
10. The floral network -- what determines who pollinates whom
11. Fighting like a girl or boy determined by gene in fruit flies

Post Your Comments:

(Date:5/12/2016)... WearablesResearch.com , a brand of Troubadour ... from the Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables survey. ... receptivity to a program where they would receive discounts ... company. "We were surprised to see that ... LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because there ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , ... Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary ... Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate the ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) ... provide their customers enhanced security to access and ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... , April 14, 2016 ... and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of ... the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes ... the heels of the deployment of its platform at ... behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ... advised by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, ... United States based venture capital funds which ... Biorem (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), that ... of their entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... just published their findings on what they believe could be a new and ... of the new research. Click here to read it now. , ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... bring innovative medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's ... of various distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Liquid Biotech USA , Inc. ... Research Agreement with The University of Pennsylvania ("PENN") ... patients.  The funding will be used to assess ... outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a variety of ... to support the design of a therapeutic, decision-making ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: