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Data from: A four-questions perspective on public information use in sticklebacks (Gasterosteidae)

Citation

Webster, Mike M. et al. (2019), Data from: A four-questions perspective on public information use in sticklebacks (Gasterosteidae), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0cq3rm5

Abstract

Whether learning primarily reflects general processes or species-specific challenges is a longstanding matter of dispute. Here we present a comprehensive analysis of public information use (PI-use) in sticklebacks (Gasterosteidae). PI-use is a form of social learning by which animals are able to assess the relative quality of resources, here prey patches, by observing the behaviour of others. PI-use was highly species-specific with only two of the assayed species, Pungitius spp. and their closest relative Culaea inconstans showing evidence of PI-use. We saw no effects of ontogenetic experience upon PI-use in P. pungitius. Experiments with live demonstrators and animated fish revealed that heightened activity and feeding strikes by foraging conspecifics are important cues in the transmission of PI. Finally, PI-use was the only form of learning in which P. pungitius and another stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus differed. PI-use in sticklebacks is species-specific and may represent an ‘ecological specialisation’ for social foraging. Whether this reflects selection on perception, attentional or cognitive processes remains to be determined.

Usage Notes

Location

Northwest Territories
Prince Edward Island
Alberta
Japan
Finland
Connecticut
United Kingdom
Alaska
North Sea
British Columbia
Baltic Sea
Washington