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Fish lateral system is required for accurate control of shoaling behaviour
Faucher, K.; Parmentier, E.; Becco, C.; Vandewalle, N.; Vandewalle, P. (2010). Fish lateral system is required for accurate control of shoaling behaviour. Anim. Behav. 79(3): 679-687.
In: Animal Behaviour. Academic Press: London,. ISSN 0003-3472, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 258423 [ OMA ]

    Hemigrammus bleheri; Pisces [WoRMS]; Marine; Brackish water; Fresh water
Author keywords
    firehead tetra; fish; hair cell bundle; Hemigrammus bleheri; lateral system; neuromast; shoaling behaviour

Authors  Top 
  • Faucher, K., more
  • Parmentier, E., more
  • Becco, C.
  • Vandewalle, N.
  • Vandewalle, P., more

    In teleost fishes, the lateral system is assumed to contribute, among other roles, to maintaining schooling behaviour. Sight is also assumed to play a role in schooling, as fish with a cut lateral line do not stop schooling unless they are also blinded. This conclusion, however, is based on experiments where only the trunk lateral line was inactivated, leaving the head lateral system intact. We investigated how inactivation of the whole lateral system affects fish shoaling behaviour. Groups of firehead tetras, Hemigrammus bleheri, were videorecorded before and after inactivation of their whole lateral system with aminoglycoside antibiotics (and also in sham-treated specimens). Shoaling behaviour was characterized by nearest distance to the first, second and third neighbours, shoal radius, shoal order parameter and the number of collisions between individuals. Scanning electron microscope observations showed damage to most superficial neuromasts as a result of antibiotic treatment. Importantly, the antibiotic-treated fish proved unable to maintain a shoal. After the end of the treatment, however, they recovered both a normal tissue morphology and normal shoaling behaviour within about a month. The lateral system is thus more crucial to shoaling behaviour than previously believed.

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