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Changes in Aggressive Interaction in Adjacently Territorial Convict Cichlids (Cichlasoma Nigrofasciatum): a Study of Habituation

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Pairs of male Convict Cichlids (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum) were isolated from each other and then exposed in adjoining territories under one of two exposure conditions, either daily 20 minute exposure for 38-44 days or a massed continuous exposure for 24 or 28 hours. The incidence of biting and the duration of chin display for each fish was recorded. The duration of the chin display described a near uniform pattern of attenuation for both exposure conditions. The waning of the biting response was evident but it was more variable than the chin display. It was concluded that these behaviors both tend to habituate with repeated or constant exposure to the same stimulus source and that prolonged exposure facilitates the habituation of aggressiveness between territorial neighbors, thus promoting peace in a particular ecological niche.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, University of California, and Laboratory of Psychobiology, Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, San Francisco, Calif., U.S.A.


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