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Outcome of dyadic conflict in male green swordtail fish, Xiphophorus helleri: effects of body size and prior dominance

Beaugrand, Jacques P. and Goulet, Claude and Payette, Daniel (1991) Outcome of dyadic conflict in male green swordtail fish, Xiphophorus helleri: effects of body size and prior dominance. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Abstract

The relative contribution of prior experience and of size asymmetries to the determination of dyadic dominance between unfamiliar individuals was examined using pairs of green swordtail fish, Xiphophorus helleri. Three experiments were conducted to assess the extent to which superiority in size could override potential handicaps resulting from prior experience. These results indicated that prior experience accounted for dyadic dominance when the size advantage of a previously subordinate over a previously dominant opponent was less than 25 mm2. However, as the lateral surface of the subordinate fish increased, neither previous experience nor size differences clearly accounted for the outcome of dyadic conflict. Even when the size advantage of subordinate opponents was in the 126-150 mm2 range, size differences did not adequately explain the outcome. In conflicts between large previously subordinate and smaller dominant fish, there was evidence for an inverse linear relation between the effects of size and the likelihood of establishing dyadic dominance. In general, males with prior experience as subordinates had to be at least 40% larger than a previously dominant fish to win a significant proportion of conflicts. These results indicate that prior agonistic experience and body size effects can be additive when at the advantage of one opponent. These factors can also cancel each other out when in opposition, at least when size differences are not extreme. The results also confirm the main effect of both factors as well as their interaction in the determination of conflict outcomes for X. helleri.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:dominance, Size, prior experience of dominance/subordination, prior residency, agonistic conflict, Green swordtail fish, Xiphophorus helleri
Subjects:Biology > Animal Behavior
Biology > Behavioral Biology
Biology > Ethology
ID Code:1966
Deposited By:Beaugrand, Jacques
Deposited On:07 Dec 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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