Section 7
Chapter 6,503

Studies of the conditioned reflex of fish in groups. 1. Relationship between the conditioning speed of individuals and the status in social hierarchy in a group of swordtails, Xiphophorus helleri

Yamagishi, H.; Nakamura, M.

Zoological Magazine (Tokyo) 87(3): 247-253


ISSN/ISBN: 0044-5118
Accession: 006502482

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A group of 4 individually recognizable female swordtails was conditioned to a sound (800 Hz) by a food receiving method (swimming into the feeding area). Only 1 fish which dominated over the other fish in social hierarchy on 11 of 16 days of group conditioning succeeded in establishing a stable temporary connection after 48 repetitions of food reinforcement. This stable conditioned reaction could be extinguished temporarily if the fish was defeated in a fight with any of its subordinates, but recovered when the fish regained the dominant position. The mean and range of the latent period of the conditioned reaction in this fish was not shortened after the establishment of a conditioned connection, because the fish often began attacking subordinates as soon as the conditioned stimulus was applied. In the separation test with the other 3 fish, temporary connection was weakly developed or not developed at all. Two of them were the dominant fish for 3 and 4 days, respectively, out of the 16 days.

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