IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Costs of behavioral synchrony as a potential driver behind size-assorted grouping

Listed author(s):
  • Angela N. Aivaz
  • Kathreen E. Ruckstuhl
Registered author(s):

    Group-living animals must synchronize their behavior to maintain group cohesion. Synchrony is best maintained by individuals similar in size because they have similar activity budgets and thus can easily coordinate their behavior, which minimizes potential trade-offs. Many groups assort by size, presumably to reduce predation risk and foraging competition. However, because groups can only be maintained by individuals that synchronize their behavior, we propose that maintenance of synchrony may also be an important factor contributing to size-assorted grouping. Similar-sized individuals should maintain synchrony through similar swimming speeds, similar foraging activity and through cohesiveness with the group, and, therefore, pay the least costs of group-living: body mass should increase over time. However, odd-sized fishes may have to adjust their foraging activities and thus lose body mass because of the need of synchrony. We measured the aforementioned variables using varying sizes (large and small) and colors (red and wild-type) of heterogeneous (1 odd focal fish among 5 similar fishes) and homogeneous (6 similar fishes) groups of zebra fishes. Groups composed of similar-sized individuals had the highest degree of synchrony--small fishes gained mass, whereas large fishes grew very little or not at all. Groups composed of different-sized individuals, although able to maintain synchrony most of the time, did so at significantly lower levels than similar-sized fishes--odd small fishes in these groups gained significantly less mass, whereas odd large fishes did not. We show that synchrony in behavior is costly and that these costs may contribute, in part, to group choice. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 6 ()
    Pages: 1353-1363

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:6:p:1353-1363
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

    Fax: 01865 267 985
    Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:6:p:1353-1363. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.