Shoaling behaviour of sticklebacks infected with the microsporidian parasite, Glugea anomala

Ashley J.W. Ward*, Alison J. Duff, Jens Krause, Iain Barber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (SciVal)


We compared the shoaling behaviour of three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, infected with the microsporidian, Glugea anomala, to that of non-infected conspecifics. Infected fish lost significantly more weight than non-infected fish during a period of food deprivation, suggesting a metabolic cost to parasitism. In binary shoal choice tests, non-infected test fish showed an association preference for a shoal of non-infected over a shoal of infected conspecifics; infected test fish displayed no preference. Infected fish, however, showed a higher overall tendency to shoal than non-parasitised fish. Furthermore, infected fish occupied front positions within a mixed school. We consider the behavioural differences between infected and uninfected fish in the context of their potential benefits to the fish hosts and the parasites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2005


  • Energetics
  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • Parasites
  • Schooling


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