Schooling Behavior in Xiphophorus Maculatus with Respect to Species Recognition
By: Marion Robine, Luis A. Pozo-Gonzalez, and Julia Pogust
The tendency for fish to form schools is very important is very important in terms of protection and community aspects, such as feeding, mating, etc. As a result, fish can recognize their own species through various signals and will show an inclination to congregate with their conspecifics. Using this information, this experiment was designed to test whether or not a species of fish would recognize members of its own species and choose to associate with them when confronted with others. To do this, specimens from both species, Xiphophorus maculatus (platys) and Puntius tetrazona (tiger barbs), were put in a tank (one on each end), and several test fish of Xiphophorus maculatus were placed one at a time in between to see where it spent a majority of its time. This process was then repeated, but without the Puntius tetrazona, and served as the control for the experiment. Upon conclusion of this experiment, each test fish had generally spent a majority of its time in the central neutral area between the two species, with a good chunk of time with its own species and no time with the other. It was found that the Xiphophorous maculatus spent a significantly greater amount of time with its conspecifics enough to conclude that, if given the choice between two species (one of them being its own), a fish will be able to recognize its own species and will choose to school.
Animals from all different taxa tend to organize themselves into groups within their environment to increase their survival rate. The way organisms organize themselves is usually due to different stimuli that direct them towards or away form other individuals. Recognition within a species is important because it provides organisms with information about the environment and allows for orientation (Ward et al., 2007). This...