Shoal choice in zebrafish, Danio rerio: The influence of shoal size and activity

Victoria L. Pritchard, James Lawrence, Roger K. Butlin, Jens Krause

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Citations (Scopus)


Shoaling fish are expected, in many cases, to gain fitness benefits from being in a larger shoal and previous experiments have shown that fish are indeed capable of choosing between shoals of different sizes. We investigated the influence of shoal activity on shoal size preference in the zebrafish. We gave test fish the choice between shoals of one to four stimulus fish, presented at two different water temperatures, and so differing in their activity levels. Where all stimulus fish were in water of the same temperature, test fish generally preferred the larger shoal. However, this preference could be reduced by presenting the larger shoal in colder water and so reducing its activity. We discuss these findings with reference to the factors that may influence shoal activity, the effect of temperature on shoaling behaviour and the mechanisms that may be used by fish to discriminate shoal size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1088
Number of pages4
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2002


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