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Visible Implant Elastomer tagging influences social preferences of zebrafish ( Danio rerio)

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Identification of individuals is a prerequisite in many behavioural studies. Visible Implant Elastomer (VIE) colour tags are a well-established way to mark animals. VIE tagging does not seem to affect individual growth or survival. However, studies verifying their neutrality during social interactions are less common. Here, individual male and female zebrafish Danio reriowere simultaneously given the choice between two shoals, each consisting of six fish. Members of one shoal were uniformly marked with one VIE tag of a given colour, whereas the other shoal was sham-tagged. In total, 10 different colours were used. Test fish spent significantly more time near the tagged shoal (56%) than near the sham-tagged shoal (44%). Tag colour did not significantly influence the preferences. The results highlight the importance of confirming the neutrality of colour tags before using them in behavioural studies. Especially, our study advises caution when using marked and unmarked fish simultaneously.

Affiliations: 1: bDepartment of Integrative Biology and Evolution, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Savoyenstr. 1a, 1160 Vienna, Austria; 2: aDepartment of Behavioural Ecology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Wohlenstrasse 50a, 3032 Hinterkappelen, Switzerland

10.1163/1568539X-00003303
/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003303
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2015-09-29
2018-11-16

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