Conflict outcome in male green swordtail fish dyads (Xiphophorus helleri): Interaction of body size, prior dominance/subordination experience and prior residency

Beaugrand, Jacques P. and Payette, Daniel and Goulet, Claude (1996) Conflict outcome in male green swordtail fish dyads (Xiphophorus helleri): Interaction of body size, prior dominance/subordination experience and prior residency. [Journal (Paginated)]

Full text available as:



The relative contribution of asymmetries in prior experience, size, and prior residency to the determination of dyadic dominance between unacquainted individuals was examined using pairs of green swordtail fish, Xiphophorus helleri. Four types of encounters were staged between an intruder and a smaller resident: (1) both had experienced prior victory; (2) both had experienced prior defeat; (3) the intruder had experienced prior victory and the resident prior defeat; and (4) the intruder had experienced prior defeat and the resident prior victory. In a fifth condition in which two intruders met, one was a prior subordinate and the other a prior dominant smaller in size than its opponent. In all these encounters, the superiority in lateral surface of one fish varied between 0 to 30% over that of its opponent. Results showed that (1) when size differences between contestants were within the range of 0-10% and there was an asymmetry in prior social experience, conflicts were essentially resolved according to prior experience with prior winners systematically defeating prior losers; (2) prior residency of 3 hours was an advantage only when both opponents had experienced prior defeat before meeting and when size asymmetries were small (e.g. <20%). It was not an advantage between prior winners or between a prior winner and a prior loser; (3) when large size asymmetries existed (e.g. 20-30%), size uniquely determined dominance outcome and nullified other advantages or disadvantages due to prior social experience and prior residency; and (4) at intermediate levels of size asymmetries (e.g. 10-20%), size partially cancelled any advantage due to a prior victory, and gradually beacme the most important factor in accounting for victories.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:Size, prior experience of dominance/subordination, prior residency, agonistic conflict, Green swordtail fish, Xiphophorus helleri.
Subjects:Biology > Animal Behavior
Biology > Ethology
ID Code:1953
Deposited By:Beaugrand, Jacques
Deposited On:01 Dec 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Baird, R.C. (1968). Aggressive behaviour and social organization in Mollienesia latipinna LeSueur. Texas J. Science 20, p. 157-176.

Barlow, G.W. (1961). Ethology of the Asian teleost Badis badis I. Locomotion, maintenance, aggregation and fright. Transactions of the Ill. State Acad. of Sci. 54, p. 175-188.

Barlow, G.W. , Rogers, W. & Fraley, N.F. (1986). Do midas cichlids win through prowess or daring ? It depends. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 26, p. 1-8.

Barnard, C.J. & Burk, T. (1979). Dominance hierarchies and the evolution of «individual recognition». J. Theoretical Biology 81, p. 65-73.

Beacham, J.L. (1988). The relative importance of body size and aggressive experience as determinants of dominance in Pumpkinseed sunfish, Lepomis gibbosus.  Animal Behaviour 36, p. 621-623.

Beacham, J.L. & Newman, J.A. (1987). Social experience and the formation of dominance relationships in the pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus). Animal Behaviour 35, p. 1560-1563.

Beaugrand, J.P. & Zayan, R.C. (1985). An experimental model of Aggressive Dominance in Xiphophorus helleri (Pisces, Poeciliidae).  Behav. Processes 10, p. 1-52

Beaugrand, J.P. , Goulet, C. & Payette, D. (1991). Outcome of dyadic conflict in male green swordtail fish, Xiphophorus helleri: Effects of body size and prior dominance.  Animal Behaviour 41, p. 417-424.

v & M. Beaugrand (1991). Prior residency and the stability of dominance relationships in pairs of green swordtail fish Xiphophorus helleri. Behav. Proc. 24, p. 169-175.

Braddock, J.C. (1945). Some aspects of the dominance-subordination relationship in the fish Platypoecilus maculatus. Physiol. Zool. 18, p. 176-195.

Braddock, J.C. (1949). The effect of prior residence upon the dominance in the fish Platypoecilus maculatus. Physiological Zoology 22, p. 161-169.

Clutton-Brock, T.H. & Albon, S.D. (1979). The roaring of red deer and the evolution of honest advertisement. Behaviour 69, p. 145-170.

Dugatkin, L.A. & Biederman, L. (1991). Balancing contrasting asymmetries in resource holding power and resource value in the pumpkinseed sunfish. Animal Behaviour 42, p. 691-692.

Enquist, M. & Jakobsson, S. (1986). Assessment of fighting ability in the cichlid fish Nannacara anomala.  Ethology 72, p. 143-153.

Enquist, M., Ljungberg, T. & Zandor, A. (1987). Visual assessment of fighting ability in the cichlid fish Nannacara anomala.  Animal Behaviour 35, p. 1262-1263.

Francis, R.C. (1983). Experiential effects on agonistic behavior in the paradise fish, Macropodus opercularis.  Behaviour 85, p. 292-313.

Franck, D. & Ribowski, A. (1987). Influences of prior agonistic experiences on aggression measures in the male swordtail (Xiphophorus helleri). Behaviour 103, p. 217-239.

Frey, D.F. & Miller, R.J. (1972). The establishment of dominance relationships in the blue gourami, Trichogaster trichopterus (Pallas). Behaviour 42, p. 8-62.

Gold, H.J. (1977). Mathematical modeling of biological systems. An introductory guidebook. Wiley. Toronto.

Henderson, D.L., Chiszar, D.A. (1977). Analysis of aggressive behaviour in the bluegill sunfish Lepomis macrochirusrafinesque: Effects of sex and size. Animal Behaviour 25, p. 122-130.

Hosmer, D.W. & Lemeshow, S. (1989). Applied logistic regression. Wiley Interscience, Toronto.

Jakobsson, S., Radesäter, T. & Järvi, T. (1979). On the fighting behavior of Nannacara anomala males. Z. Tierpsychologie 49, p. 210-220.

Moore, W.S. & McKay, F.E. (1971). Coexistence in unisexual-bisexual species complexes of Poeciliopsis (Pisces, Poeciliidae). Ecology 52, p. 791-799.

Myrberg, A.A. (1971). Social dominance and territoriality in the bicolor damselfish, Eupomacentrus partitus (Poey) (Pisces: Pomacentridae). Behaviour 41, p. 207-231.

Noble, G.K. (1939). The experimental animal from the naturalist's point of view.  American Naturalist 73, p. 113-126.

Parker, G.A. (1974). Assessment strategy and the evolution of fighting behaviour.  J. Theoretical Biology 47, p. 223-243.

Ribowski, A. & Franck, D. (1993). Demonstration of strength and concealment of weakness in escalating fights of male swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri). Ethology 93, p. 265-274.

Robertson, J.G.M. (1986). Male territoriality, fighting and assessment of fighting ability in the Australian frog, Uperoleia rugosa. Animal Behaviour 34, p. 763-772.

Siegel, S. & Castellan, jr. N.J. (1988).  Nonparametric statistics for the behavioral sciences. 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill. Montreal.

Turner, G.F. & Huntingford, F.A. (1986). A problem for game theory analysis: assessment and intention in male mouthbrooder contests. Animal Behaviour 34, p. 961-970.

Zayan, R. (1975a). Modification des effets liés à la priorité de résidence chez Xiphophorus (Pisces, Poeciliidae): le rôle de l'expérience immédiate de dominance et de soumission.  Revue du Comportement Animal 8, p. 296-311.

Zayan, R. (1975b) Défense du territoire et reconnaissance individuelle chez Xiphophorus (Pisces, Poeciliidae).  Behaviour 52, p. 266-312.

Zayan, R. (1975c). Modifications des effets liés à la priorité de résidence chez Xiphophorus (Pisces, Poeciliidae): le rôle des manipulations expérimentales. Z. Tierpsychologie 39, p. 463-491.


Repository Staff Only: item control page