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Data from: Competitive growth in a social fish

Cite this dataset

Reed, Cymone et al. (2019). Data from: Competitive growth in a social fish [Dataset]. Dryad.


Many animal societies have dominance hierarchies in which social rank is correlated with size. In such societies, the growth and size of individuals can be a strategic response to their social environment: in fishes, individuals may decrease their growth rate to remain small and retain a subordinate position; in mammals, individuals may increase their growth rate to become large and attain a dominant position — a strategy called competitive growth. Here, we investigate whether the clown anemonefish Amphiprion percula exhibits competitive growth also. We show that juvenile clownfish paired with a size-matched reproductive rival increase their growth rate and size relative to solitary controls. Remarkably, paired individuals achieved this despite being provided with the same amount of food as solitary controls. Our results demonstrate that clownfish are able to increase their growth rate in response to social competition. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that the growth of social vertebrates can be a fine-tuned plastic response to their social environment.

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