Electric signals and schooling behavior in a weakly electric fish, Marcusenius cyprinoides L. (Mormyriformes)

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Science  20 Aug 1976:
Vol. 193, Issue 4254, pp. 697-699
DOI: 10.1126/science.948747


Field recordings of electric organ discharges and catches of Marcusenius cyprinoides showed that these electric fish form groups and move about in schools. The role electric organ discharges in group cohesion was investigated by comparing interactions in groups of intact and operated, electrically silent fish. The absence of electric organ dischares reduced locomotor activity and resulted in the disappearance of two behaviors: parallel lineup and single file swimming. Electric signals are considered part of a schooling mechanism that aids the fish in maintaining group cohesion in their turbid enviornment and during migration at night.