Behaviour 2019
Behavioral effects of parasites on schooling fish
Angela Albi1, Jacob Davidson1, Jessica Stephenson2, Sandra Binning3, Iain Couzin1. 1Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, konstanz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany; 2University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States; 3Université de Montréal, Montreal, , Canada

Disease transmission and parasitism is thought to be one of the major costs of group living. Nonetheless, when many individuals interact, a variety of behavioral patterns emerge enhancing information processing and the ability to discriminate subtle differences in the environment. With this study, we explore how fish cope with the presence of an ectoparasite and if group living facilitates disease avoidance. At the individual level, we compare swimming kinematics and metabolic costs of healthy and infected guppies. At the group level, we use individual tracking methods and reconstruct collective dynamics that emerge in groups containing both uninfected and infected individuals. Preliminary results show that at the group level infected fish are more likely to be in isolation and in the periphery of the group when in bigger groups. At the individual level, sick fish have higher tail beat frequency at high swimming speeds, which may alter swimming efficiency. Overall, we aim at quantifying physiological and behavioral characteristics to better understand the relationship between individual and group-level information processing in the context of antiparasite defense.