Data from: Crimson spotted rainbowfish (Melanotaenia duboulayi) change their spatial position according to nutritional requirement
Hansen, Matthew J.; Schaerf, Timothy M.; Krause, Jens; Ward, Ashley J. W. (2017), Data from: Crimson spotted rainbowfish (Melanotaenia duboulayi) change their spatial position according to nutritional requirement, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h468f
Decision making in moving animal groups has been shown to be disproportionately influenced by individuals at the front of groups. Therefore, an explanation of state-dependent positioning of individuals within animal groups may provide a mechanism for group movement decisions. Nutritional state is dynamic and can differ between members of the same group. It is also known to drive animal movement decisions. Therefore, we assayed 6 groups of 8 rainbowfish foraging in a flow tank. Half of the fish had been starved for 24h and half had been fed 1h prior to experimental start. Groups were assayed again one week later but individuals were allocated to the opposite nutritional treatment. During the assay the positions of individually identified fish were recorded as were the number of food items they each ate and the position within the group they acquired them from. Food-deprived fish were more often found towards the front of the shoal; the mean weighted positional score of food-deprived fish was significantly larger than that of well-fed fish. Individuals were not consistent in their position within a shoal between treatments. There was a significant positive correlation between mean weighted positional score and number of food items acquired which displays an obvious benefit to front positions. These results suggest that positional preferences are based on nutritional state and provide a mechanism for state-dependent influence on group decision-making as well as increasing our understanding of what factors are important for group functioning.