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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Ryer, C.H. and B.L. Olla. 1991. Agonistic behavior in a schooling fish: form, function and ontogeny. Environmental Biology of Fishes 31:355-363.


Although juvenile chum salmon, Oncorhynchus keta, are generally regarded as a schooling fish, when presented with a defensible point-source of food, some individuals abandon schooling, aggressively subordinate competitors, and monopolize food. When food is removed, fish gradually abandon solitary agonistic behaviors and return to schooling behavior. Agonism increases in frequency and intensity as juveniles age. The ability to alternate facultatively between schooling and solitary agonistic behavior may enable juvenile chum to respond to local patterns of food distribution and predation risk. The ontogenetic increase in agonism may result in school dispersal as fish move from the estuary into coastal waters, and may well reflect a shift in the costs versus the benefits of schooling as fish mature and become less vulnerable to predation.


Last updated 31 March, 2009

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