We investigated pairwise association patterns and shoal fidelity in free-ranging, individual three-spine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) by capturing entire shoals of sticklebacks and tagging each shoal member with a unique individual mark before releasing the shoal at the point of capture. We recaptured tagged fishes in the study area on five subsequent days, noting their identity, their location and the individuals with which they were associated. Stable partner associations between fishes were observed which might provide the basis for shoal fidelity via social networks. These results suggest the potential for the kinds of inter-individual association patterns assumed by models of predator inspection and 'tit-for-tat' behaviours in free-ranging fishes.

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Keywords Familiarity, Reciprocal altruism, School
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2002.2169
Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Ward, A.J.W. (Ashley J. W.), Botham, M.S. (Marc S.), Hoare, D.J. (Daniel J.), James, R. (Richard), Broom, M. (Mark), Godin, J.-G.J, & Krause, J. (Jens). (2002). Association patterns and shoal fidelity in the three-spined stickleback. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 269(1508), 2451–2455. doi:10.1098/rspb.2002.2169