The effect of hunger and cestode parasitism on the shoaling decisions of small freshwater fish

I. Barber*, F. A. Huntingford, W. T. Crompton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Individual minnowsPhoxinus phoxinusand three-spined sticklebacksGasterosteus aculeatuswere provided with a mutually exclusive choice between joining a shoal of conspecifics and foraging alone in a maze. The shoaling decisions and foraging behaviour of individual fish were studied when the fish were satiated and after 24- and 48-h periods of food deprivation. Hunger level was found to have a significant effect on shoaling behaviour. When satiated, fish of both species spent a greater proportion of time within one body length of the shoal and spent less time out of visual contact with the shoal than after periods of food deprivation. The effect of the cestode parasiteSchistocephalus soliduson the shoaling behaviour of stickleback hosts was complex. When satiated, infected fish spent less time than uninfected fish within one body length of the shoal, preferring to remain outside the shoal, yet within visual contact, although when food deprived there was no difference in the proportion of time spent by infected and uninfected fish close to the shoal. The possible ecological significance of this change in behaviour is discussed with reference to the manipulation hypothesis of host-parasite interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-536
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1995


  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • hunger
  • manipulation hypothesis
  • Phoxinus phoxinus
  • Schistocephalus solidus
  • shoaling behaviour


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