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Research article2005Peer reviewed

Is boldness affected by group composition in young-of-the-year perch (Perca fluviatilis)?

Magnhagen C, Staffan F


In young-of-the-year perch (Perca fluviatilis), individuals within groups differed in the degree of boldness, estimated by habitat utilisation and feeding activity in visual contact with a potential predator. We looked at changes in individual behaviour in connection with change of group composition. During the first period, perch were randomly assigned to groups, and time spent in open habitat versus in vegetation and number of prey attacks were registered. The perch were then categorised into 'personality types' (shy, bold, intermediate) according to their behaviour. During the second period, fish were observed when sorted into new groups, each containing only one personality type. Shy individuals showed the largest changes in behaviour, and increased both the time spent in the open and the number of prey attacks when placed into the new groups. Feeding activity in shy fish during the second period was affected by group composition during the first period. After regrouping, bold individuals decreased their time in the open, whereas intermediate individuals did not change behaviour. Time in the open habitat was, to some extent, influenced by the behaviour of the other members of the group, but number of prey attacks was not. The behaviour of fish of the different personality types we have defined in this study seemed to be based on innate traits, but also modified by the influence of other group members and by habituation to the environment


Boldness/shyness; Perca fluviatilis; personality; social influence

Published in

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
2005, Volume: 57, number: 3, pages: 295-303
Publisher: SPRINGER

      SLU Authors

    • Magnhagen, Carin

      • Department of Aquaculture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Staffan, Fia

        • Department of Aquaculture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
      Fish and Aquacultural Science

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)