Behaviour 2019
Role of the Lateral Line System During Male-Male Territorial Interactions in Fathead Minnow
Hannah TerMarsch1, Jessica Ward2. 1Ball State University, Muncie, IN, United States; 2Ball State University, Muncie, IN, United States

The lateral line system in aquatic vertebrates is used to detect movement, vibration, and pressure gradients in the water and is important in the contexts of predator escape and foraging. Less is known about how mechanosensory information is used in intraspecific communication, such as reproduction. In this study, we investigated the role of the lateral line in male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) during male-male territorial contests. We conducted a factorial behavioral experiment that paired males with ablated and non-ablated lateral lines and recorded aggressive interactions and territory acquisition over a four-day period. Males without access to mechanosensory information were less likely to win territorial contests and showed changes in aggressive behavior compared to nonablated males. In addition to providing insight into the role of mechanosensory communication during reproductive activities, these data also suggest that antibiotics present in streams and rivers have the potential to alter intraspecific interactions by impairing signal reception.