Social structure and co-operative interactions in a wild population of guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

D P Croft, Richard James, P O R Thomas, C Hathaway, D Mawdsley, K N Laland, J Krause

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

In contrast to the substantial number of theoretical papers that have examined the mechanisms by which cooperation may evolve, very few studies have investigated patterns of co-operation in natural animal populations. In the current study, we use a novel approach, social network analysis, to investigate the structure of co-operative interactions in the context of predator inspection in a wild population of guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Female guppies showed social preferences for stable partners, fulfilling a key assumption made by models of reciprocity. In the laboratory, wild female guppies disproportionately engaged in predator inspection with others with whom they had strong social associations. Furthermore, pairs of fish that frequently engaged in predator inspection did so in a particularly co-operative way, potentially reducing costs associated with predator inspection. Taken together, these results provide evidence for assortative interactions forming the basis of co-operation during predator inspection in a natural fish population. The occurrence of highly interconnected social networks between stable partners suggests the existence of co-operation networks in free-ranging populations of the guppy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-650
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume59
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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Poecilia reticulata
social structure
wild population
predator
predators
social networks
social network
reciprocity
network analysis
fish
inspection
co-operation
cost
animals

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Social structure and co-operative interactions in a wild population of guppies (Poecilia reticulata). / Croft, D P; James, Richard; Thomas, P O R; Hathaway, C; Mawdsley, D; Laland, K N; Krause, J.

In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 59, No. 5, 2006, p. 644-650.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Croft, D P ; James, Richard ; Thomas, P O R ; Hathaway, C ; Mawdsley, D ; Laland, K N ; Krause, J. / Social structure and co-operative interactions in a wild population of guppies (Poecilia reticulata). In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 2006 ; Vol. 59, No. 5. pp. 644-650.
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