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Title: The ontogeny of social behavior in a Hawaiian damselfish, Abudefduf abdominalis 
Author: Stanton, Frank
Date: 1990
Abstract: The ontogeny of social behavior of juvenile Abudefduf abdominalis was studied by comparing development at the age of settlement to shallow water habitats, and at one, two, and three months post-settlement. Food resources were manipulated to test the hypothesis that the presence of a defendable food resource would result in earlier expression of aggression and alter the way Modal Action Patterns (MAPs) were used socially. Field studies indicated that the distribution of juveniles in shallow water did not overlap with adult fish. The diet of the juveniles from two habitats differed. Fish from the tidepool habitat fed on plankton, and potentially defendable algae, while fish from buoys fed mostly on plankton, assumed not to be defendable. Frequency and duration of MAPs, after dominance was established, were recorded during paired encounters between similar sized fish from each habitat or reared in the laboratory with different diets. Most MAPs were expressed at the time of settlement. Food preferences were altered based on experience. The dominant fish fed more on the previously experienced food resource and displaced the subordinant fish from the preferred food type. Modal Action Patterns were categorized into four functional groups: feeding, attack, threat, and self-defense based on preceding following MAP transitions within individual fish. Dominant and subordinant roles were recognized by differences in MAP frequencies and placement of MAPs within functional groups. Attack MAPs became more consistently associated with food resources in the dominant fish. Erect-fins developed into a threat display used by the dominant fish, instead of chase, to displace the subordinant fish. Information transmitted between the fish increased as they aged with more information being exchanged from the dominant fish to the subordinant fish. Rules governing the switching from one group of MAPs to another were proposed based on significant transitions between specific MAPs. One rule may account for the development of resource defense. The dominant fish followed feeding on the experienced diet with attack. Thus, feeding on a good food resource, but of unknown defendability, was linked to attack as a test of the potential for defense.
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1990. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 174-184) Microfiche. xiii, 184 leaves, bound ill. 29 cm
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/10316
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Keywords: Abudefduf, Fishes -- Hawaii -- Behavior

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