Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fish win fights on strength of personality

Date:
April 26, 2013
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
When predicting the outcome of a fight, the big guy doesn't always win suggests new research on fish. Scientists have found that when fish fight over food, it is personality, rather than size, that determines whether they will be victorious.

Scientists at the University of Exeter and Texas A&M University found that when fish fight over food, it is personality, rather than size, that determines whether they will be victorious.
Credit: University of Exeter

When predicting the outcome of a fight, the big guy doesn't always win suggests new research on fish. Scientists at the University of Exeter and Texas A&M University found that when fish fight over food, it is personality, rather than size, that determines whether they will be victorious. The findings suggest that when resources are in short supply personality traits such as aggression could be more important than strength when it comes to survival.

The study, published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, found that small fish were able to do well in contests for food against larger fish provided they were aggressive. Regardless of their initial size, it was the fish that tended to have consistently aggressive behaviour -- or personalities -- that repeatedly won food and as a result put on weight.

Dr Alastair Wilson from Biosciences at the University of Exeter said: "We wondered if we were witnessing a form of Napoleon, or small man, syndrome. Certainly our study indicates that small fish with an aggressive personality are capable of defeating their larger, more passive counterparts when it comes to fights over food. The research suggests that personality can have far reaching implications for life and survival."

The sheepshead swordtail fish (Xiphophorus birchmanni) fish were placed in pairs in a fish tank, food was added and their behaviour was captured on film. The feeding contest trials were carried out with both male and female fish. The researchers found that while males regularly attacked their opponent to win the food, females were much less aggressive and rarely attacked.

In animals, personality is considered to be behaviour that is repeatedly observed under certain conditions. Major aspects of personality such as shyness or aggressiveness have previously been characterised and are thought to have important ecological significance. There is also evidence to suggest that certain aspects of personality can be inherited. Further work on whether winning food through aggression could ultimately improve reproductive success will shed light on the heritability of personality traits.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alastair J Wilson, Andrew Grimmer, Gil G. Rosenthal. Causes and consequences of contest outcome: aggressiveness, dominance and growth in the sheepshead swordtail, Xiphophorus birchmanni. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s00265-013-1540-7

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Fish win fights on strength of personality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130426115454.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2013, April 26). Fish win fights on strength of personality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130426115454.htm
University of Exeter. "Fish win fights on strength of personality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130426115454.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins