The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa

Abstract of Doctoral Dissertation

Mark H. J. Nelissen
Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen (Belgium), 1985
Adviser: (?)  

Studie van de relatie tussen de communicatie en de dominantiehiŽrarchie als systemen die het sociaal gedrag ordenen, met Melanochromis auratus (Pisces, Cichlidae) als onderzoeksmodel. [A study of the relation between communication and dominance hierarchy as systems that order social life, with Melanochromis auratus (Pisces, Cichlidae) as a research model.]   [text in Dutch]  

This study tries to analyse two systems that order social life in animals, with a cichlid fish Melanochromis auratus as a research model. This study emphasizes the relation between both systems.

The analysis can be divided in the following topics: (1) An ethogram of the studied species, with some conclusions and hypotheses about signal economy and evolution. (2) A theoretical contribution to the calculation of linearity in hierarchies. The influences of tied rank numbers on linearity is investigated, and linearity is redefined. Tied ranks are mainly of influence in small groups. (3) An analysis of a developing dominance hierarchy. This shows that the development phase can be divided in six phases in which different behavioural acts occur with different frequencies. (4) An analysis of a stabilized dominance hierarchy, with the emphasis on communication within this system. Communication seems to follow some rules that are determined by the dominance status of actor and reactor. These rules stabilize the hierarchy. (5) Searching for factors that determine the dominance of one individual over another. A new analysis technique is proposed to look for dominance determinants in a group of undisturbed animals. Some "group factors" are described.




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