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The role of tactile interactions in flight responses in the Bronze Cory catfish (Corydoras aeneus)

Riley, Riva J.; Gillie, Elizabeth R.; Savage, James L.; Boogert, Neeltje J.; Manica, Andrea; Jungwirth, Arne


Riva J. Riley

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Beth Gillie
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

James L. Savage

Neeltje J. Boogert

Andrea Manica

Arne Jungwirth


One of the primary functions of animal aggregations is defence against predators. Many social animals enjoy reduced predation risk as a result of grouping, and individuals within groups can benefit from information transferred by their group-mates about a potential predator. We present evidence that a tactile interaction behaviour we term “nudging” substantially modified group responses to a potential threat in a highly social catfish, Corydoras aeneus. These catfish deployed nudges during flight responses, and these nudges were associated with a greater likelihood of group cohesion following a threat event. Increased nudging behaviour also resulted in longer flight responses, a potentially costly outcome in natural contexts. In addition, individuals that perceived the threat first were more likely to initiate nudges, implying that nudges could be used to alert group-mates to the presence of a threat. Taken together, our results suggest that tactile communication plays an important role in mediating anti-predator benefits from sociality in these fish.


Riley, R. J., Gillie, E. R., Savage, J. L., Boogert, N. J., Manica, A., & Jungwirth, A. (2019). The role of tactile interactions in flight responses in the Bronze Cory catfish (Corydoras aeneus). Ethology: international journal of behavioural biology, 125(11), 810-820.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 16, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 7, 2019
Publication Date Nov 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 5, 2021
Journal Ethology
Print ISSN 0179-1613
Electronic ISSN 1439-0310
Publisher Wiley
Volume 125
Issue 11
Pages 810-820
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