Data from: The making of winners (and losers): how early dominance interactions determine adult social structure in a clonal fish
Laskowski, Kate L.; Wolf, Max; Bierbach, David (2016), Data from: The making of winners (and losers): how early dominance interactions determine adult social structure in a clonal fish, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qj8t3
Across a wide range of animal taxa, winners of previous fights are more likely to keep winning future contests, just as losers are more likely to keep losing. At present, such winner and loser effects are considered to be fairly transient. However, repeated experiences with winning and/or losing might increase the persistence of these effects generating long-lasting consequences for social structure. To test this, we exposed genetically identical individuals of a clonal fish, the Amazon molly (Poecilia formosa), to repeated winning and/or losing dominance interactions during the first two months of their life. We subsequently investigated whether these experiences affected the fish’s ability to achieve dominance in a hierarchy five months later during adulthood. Individuals that had only winning interactions early in life consistently ranked at the top of the hierarchy. Interestingly, individuals with only losing experience tended to achieve the middle dominance rank, whereas individuals with both winning and losing experiences generally ended up at the bottom of the hierarchy. In addition to demonstrating that early social interactions can have dramatic and long-lasting consequences for adult social behaviour and social structure, our work also shows that higher cumulative winning experience early in life can counter-intuitively give rise to lower social rank later in life.