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The physiology of leadership in fish shoals: leaders have lower maximal metabolic rates and lower aerobic scope
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Number of Authors: 42018 (English)In: Journal of Zoology, ISSN 0952-8369, E-ISSN 1469-7998, Vol. 305, no 2, p. 73-81Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The question of who leads and who follows is crucial to our understanding of the collective movements of group-living animals. Various characteristics associated with leadership have been documented across a range of social taxa, including hunger, motivation, dominance and personality. Comparatively little is known about the physiological mechanisms that underlie leadership. Here, we tested whether the metabolic phenotype of individual fish (x-ray tetras, Pristella maxillaris) determined their relative position within a moving shoal and their tendency to act as leaders. In contrast to previous work, we found that individuals with low maximal metabolic rates and low aerobic scope tended to be more likely to be found at the front of shoals and were more likely to act as leaders. We suggest that leadership by low-performing individuals leads to greater group cohesion. However, in more challenging environmental contexts, such as flowing water, higher performing animals may be more likely to become leaders while low-performing individuals seek the more favourable hydrodynamic conditions at the rear of the group. Hence, the travelling speed of the group may mediate the relationship between metabolic phenotype and leadership.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 305, no 2, p. 73-81
Keywords [en]
leadership, metabolism, group leader, follower, collective movement, fish shoals, Pristella maxillaris
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-157678DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12534ISI: 000434146500001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-157678DiVA, id: diva2:1236002
Available from: 2018-07-30 Created: 2018-07-30 Last updated: 2018-07-30Bibliographically approved

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