Conflict Management in Cooperatively Breeding Cichlid Fishes -

4:00pm - 5:00pm / Tuesday 13th November 2018 / Venue: Lecture Theatre 1 Life Sciences Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Research / Series: BEEM Seminar
  • Suitable for: Staff and students with an interest in Behaviour, Evolution, Ecology and Microbiology
  • Admission: Free
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Speaker: Adam Reddon (Liverpool John Moores University)

In group living species, aggressive conflict with other group members is common. Aggression is costly, requiring time and energy while risking injury and increasing exposure to predation threat. Social species may have adaptations to attenuate conflicts with group members and minimize the costs of aggressive interactions. The highly social cichlid fish, Neolamprologus pulcher lives and breeds within a permanent group of 3-20 adults which collectively defend a small territory. Neolamprologus pulcher groups are organized into linear dominance hierarchies, which largely determine the outcome of aggressive interactions between group members. Body size is the primary basis of social rank. Despite this hierarchical social organization, aggressive interactions among group members are frequent. Subordinate individuals often respond to dominant aggression by producing a signal of submission. I argue that these submissive displays are a key adaptation to group living in this species and are vital for maintaining group stability. I will share my ongoing work on social living and the resolution of conflict within social groups in Neolamprologus pulcher. I will also discuss the importance of the nonapeptide neurohormone, isotocin (the teleost fish homologue of oxytocin), in modulating submissive behaviour and other social responses, and its potential role as a proximate substrate for group living.