Collective behavior in wild zebrafish

Delia S. Shelton, Sierra G. Shelton, Danita K. Daniel, Manickam Raja, Anuradha Bhat, Robyn L. Tanguay, Dennis M. Higgs, Emília P. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Anthropogenic change is expected to alter environments at alarming rates. To predict the impact of modified environments on social behavior, we must study the relationship between environmental features and collective behavior in a genetically tractable model, zebrafish (Danio rerio). Here, we conducted a field study to examine the relationship between salient environmental features and collective behavior in four populations of zebrafish. We found zebrafish in flowing water formed volatile groups, whereas those in still water had more consistent membership and leadership. Groups in fast-flowing water were large (up to 2000 fish) and tightly knit with short nearest neighbor distances, whereas group sizes were smaller (11 fish/group) with more space between individual fish in still and slow-flowing water. These observations point to a possible profound role of water flow in influencing collective behavior in wild zebrafish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • collective behavior
  • environment
  • field study
  • vegetation
  • water flow
  • zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Collective behavior in wild zebrafish'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this