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The Communicative Function of Pelvic Fin-Flickering in Etroplus Maculatus (Pisces, Cichlidae)

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1. Fin-flickering (calling) is exhibited only by adult fish when they are caring for the young. This behavior is especially frequent when the parents are alarmed. The calling frequency of the parents was as much as 17 times greater during disturbed conditions than during undisturbed conditions. 2. During disturbed conditions the duration and frequency of calling were significantly greater on the third day that the fry were free-swimming than on any of the other test days. This increase in calling is discussed in connection with other behavioral and histological changes that have been deported to occur on day 3. 3. The parents alternate in the care of the school. The times spent with the school by each parent are not significantly different whether observed during disturbed or undisturbed conditions. 4. On each test day the vertical and horizontal dispersion of the school decreased as calling increased, causing the school to become more compact. The distance from the center of the school to the parent changed significantly only on day 6 of free-swimming, decreasing as calling increased. 5. During the free-swimming stage of development the fry make continual physical contact with the body of the parents, a behavior termed glancing. Glancing rates were unaffected by changes in calling frequency on days 1 and 3 of free-swimming. However, on day 6 and on subsequent days glancing decreased as the calling frequency increased. 6. The changes in school activity as a function of increased calling, which were seen on day 6 but not on day 3, are discussed in light of their adaptive significance.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University Normal, ., U.S.A.


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