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Machiavellian intelligence in fishes
Bshary, R. (2006). Machiavellian intelligence in fishes, in: Brown, C. et al. (Ed.) Fish cognition and behavior. Fish and Aquatic Resources Series, 11: pp. 223-242
In: Brown, C.; Laland, K.N.; Krause, J. (Ed.) (2006). Fish cognition and behavior. Fish and Aquatic Resources Series, 11. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford. ISBN 978-1-4051-3429-3. XVIII, 328 pp., more
In: Pitcher, T.J. (Ed.) Fish and Aquatic Resources Series. Blackwell Science: Oxford. ISSN 1746-2606, more

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    Aquaculture; Brain; Carnivores; Learning behaviour; Pisces [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Bshary, R.

    The aim of this paper is to present an overview of the social strategic behaviour of fishes. The content was inspired by the 'Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis' (Byrne & Whiten 1988), which proposes that the main cognitive challenge for individual primates is to cope with and exploit the complexity of the social environment in a manner that enhances their fitness. More specifically, an individual has to know all group members and their (genetical and social) relationships in order to find the right coalition partners and to prevent opponents from building successful coalitions. Key cognitive abilities of individuals are thus the ability to understand and remember complex relationships, to cooperate, and skills in manipulation and deception of group members. Other social cognitive abilities like social learning and the formation of traditions are less prominent in the Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis, but play a role in the closely related social brain hypothesis (Dunbar 1992; Barton & Dunbar 1997), which stresses a link between social complexity and neocortex size evolution in mammals. There are positive correlations between group size (a correlate of social complexity) and neocortex ratio (neocortex size regressed against the size of the rest of the brain) in primates, carnivores and bats (Barton & Dunbar 1997). Thus, both the Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis and the social brain hypothesis seem to be applicable to a variety of taxa. This chapter will try to apply this reasoning to social strategies of fishes.

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