Public information use in ninespine sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius) : isolating the mechanisms using computer-animated stimuli
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Many studies demonstrated the use, and strategies of use, of public information -or the ability of an observer to assess a resource’s quality by watching inadvertent behavioural cues- in the ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) presented with a foraging patch assessment problem. Many aspects of behaviour were seen to vary with an increased feeding rate and identifying the one responsible for transmission of information is difficult with live demonstrators. This project created and utilized computer-animated ninespine sticklebacks to isolate behaviours and test which ones are used by observers to gain information. We predicted and found that out of six different behaviours associated with an increase in feeding rate, strike rate is the one used to assess foraging patches’ quality. Observer ninespine sticklebacks preferred to associate with sides that were formerly associated with an animated shoal of conspecifics different only in the amount of strikes per demonstration period, in a ratio of six versus two.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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