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Submissive behaviour is affected by group size in a social fish

Hirons-Major, C, Ruberto, T, Swaney, WT and Reddon, AR (2024) Submissive behaviour is affected by group size in a social fish. Royal Society Open Science, 11 (5).

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For social groups to form and be stable over time, animals must develop strategies to cope with conflict among group members. Animals may behave submissively either by fleeing from an aggressor, or by signalling submission. The use of these two submissive responses may vary depending on the social and ecological context. Group size is a key aspect of social context for group living animals, as individuals in smaller groups may respond to aggression differently than those from larger groups. Here, we examine the relationship between group size and submissive behaviour in a cooperatively breeding fish, the daffodil cichlid (Neolamprologus pulcher). We found that subordinate fish showed similar levels of submission signals in response to dominant aggression in larger and smaller groups, however, subordinates from larger groups were less likely to flee from dominant aggression than those in smaller groups. Subordinates in larger groups also showed more digging behaviour which may be also used to avoid conflict with the dominant group members. Our data show that social context affects submissive behaviour in a cooperatively breeding fish.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: The Royal Society
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2024 14:22
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 14:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1098/rsos.240539
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23504
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