Guppy Group Size: Predation Risk

what relationship do group size and predation have in guppies

Guppies are known to form social groups in response to perceived predation risk. However, a study by Heathcote et al. found that when guppies were exposed to high predation risk, they formed smaller social groups, but with stronger and more stable social ties. This suggests a possible conflict between forming stable social relationships and larger social groups.

Guppies frequently leave and join new shoals, and the researchers measured social ties by seeing how often the same fish swam together. While all guppies developed stronger social bonds when faced with predators, the effect was strongest among those most at risk - the larger and bolder individuals.

Characteristics Values
Group size Smaller groups when predation risk is high
Social ties More stable and differentiated when predation risk is high
Social bonds Stronger when predation risk is high
Social groups Smaller when predation risk is high

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Guppies form smaller groups when threatened by predators

Guppies are known to form long and stable social relationships and recognise other individuals. When exposed to predators, guppies tend to form smaller groups and develop stronger and more stable social bonds. This suggests a possible conflict between being able to form strong social relationships and being able to live in larger social groups.

Guppies that are most at risk of predation—the larger and bolder individuals—show the most exaggerated responses in several social measures. The maintenance of social relationships often requires individual recognition, which can be cognitively demanding when it involves large numbers.

The first experimental evidence that proximity to predators can increase the intensity of animal social relationships comes from a study on Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata). The study found that when the perceived predation risk was high, individuals developed stable and more differentiated social ties compared to when the perceived risk was low.

The effects of dangerous environments on social bonds are also known in humans, such as between soldiers who form strong and long-lasting bonds during active duty in war zones.

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Guppies form stronger social bonds when threatened by predators

Guppies are known to develop long and stable social relationships. When exposed to predators, guppies tend to form stronger social bonds and smaller social groups. This suggests a possible conflict between being able to form strong social relationships and being able to live in larger social groups.

The first experimental evidence that proximity to predators can increase the intensity of animal social relationships comes from a study on Trinidadian guppies by Robert Heathcote and colleagues. The study found that guppies exposed to predators were more likely to establish stronger social bonds and smaller social groups.

The effect was strongest among those most at risk—the larger and bolder individuals. This may be because forming stable and differentiated social relationships in smaller groups allows guppies to more effectively coordinate their predator avoidance strategies.

The study also found that social bonds can have important consequences for fitness in animals. For example, stronger social relationships can lead to improved foraging success, longevity, and increased offspring number.

Overall, the findings suggest that living under the threat of predation may have played a key role in the evolution of social relationships in guppies, and potentially other species as well.

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Guppies are more likely to establish stronger social bonds when exposed to predators

Intriguingly, this also coincided with social groups being smaller, suggesting a possible conflict between being able to form strong social relationships and being able to live in larger social groups. The maintenance of social relationships often requires individual recognition, which can be cognitively demanding when it involves large numbers.

petshun

Guppies form smaller groups when they strengthen their social ties

Guppies are known to form long and stable social relationships and recognise other individuals. When faced with predators, guppies tend to form smaller groups and develop stronger and more stable social bonds. This suggests a possible conflict between being able to form strong social relationships and being able to live in larger social groups.

The effects of dangerous environments on social bonds are also known in humans, such as between soldiers who form strong and long-lasting bonds during active duty in war zones.

Guppies exposed to predators are more likely to establish stronger social bonds and form smaller groups than those not exposed to predators. This is the first experimental evidence that proximity to predators can increase the intensity of animal social relationships.

The maintenance of social relationships often requires individual recognition, which can be cognitively demanding when it involves large numbers. This may explain why guppies form smaller groups as they strengthen their social ties.

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Guppies are more at risk of predation when they are larger and bolder

In a study, guppies were exposed to cues indicating a high risk from predatory fish. The guppies formed stable and more differentiated social relationships compared to control populations. This intensification of social relationships coincided with the guppies forming smaller groups.

The study found that larger guppies had stronger and more stable associations, and bolder individuals in the high-predation-risk treatment also formed stronger associations. This suggests that the guppies' social strategies may be effective in reducing their risk of predation.

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Frequently asked questions

Guppies tend to form larger groups in response to perceived predation risk. However, when the risk of predation is high, guppies form smaller, more stable, and differentiated social groups.

Guppies in larger groups tend to cooperate more frequently and spend less time in refuges. However, there is no evidence that group size affects the duration or distance of inspections.

Guppies in larger groups are less likely to perceive the risk posed by predators. They also tend to spend less time in refuges.

There is no evidence that group size affects the cohesion of guppies.

There is no evidence that group size affects the sub-group formation of guppies.

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