Skip to main content
Dryad logo

The sensory basis of schooling by intermittent swimming in the rummy-nose tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus) -- [Data analysis]


McHenry, Matthew (2020), The sensory basis of schooling by intermittent swimming in the rummy-nose tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus) -- [Data analysis], Dryad, Dataset,


Schooling is a collective behavior that enhances the ability of a fish to sense and respond to its environment. Although schooling is essential to the biology of a diversity of fishes, it is generally unclear how this behavior is coordinated by different sensory modalities. We used experimental manipulation and kinematic measurements to test the role of vision and flow sensing in the rummy-nose tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus), which swims with intermittent phases of bursts and coasts. Groups of five fish required a minimum level of illuminance (> 1.5 lx) to achieve the necessary close nearest-neighbor distance and high polarization for schooling. Compromising the lateral line system with an antibiotic treatment caused tetras to swim with greater nearest-neighbor distance and lower polarization. Therefore, vision is both necessary and sufficient for schooling in H. rhodostomus and both sensory modalities aid in attraction. These results can serve as a basis for understanding the individual roles of sensory modalities in schooling for some fish species.


This study considered the sensory basis of schooling by experimental manipulation in the rummy-nose tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus). The role of flow sensing was tested by compromising the lateral line system by chemical exposure. The visual system was manipulated by varying the intensity of visible light. The effects of these manipulations on schooling were assessed with an analysis of the kinematics of the swimming in groups of five fish. This repository contains the data and scripted code (in MATLAB) to perform all kinematic analyses for the study.

Usage Notes

Familiarity with MATLAB coding is required to perform the analysis. The major scripts for data analysis are as follows:

acqSingle.m - Performs data acquisition for video recordings.

anaShort.m - Performs the major analysis of short-duration experiments.

anaLong.m - Performs the major anlaysis for long-duration experiments.

batchMaster.m - Performs analyses on multiple experiments at once.

The remaining m-files are called from the above files for performaning discrete tasks in image processing and data analysis.


NSF, Award: IOS-1354842

ONR, Award: N00014-19-1-2035