13. Machiavellian Intelligence in Fishes

  1. Culum Brown2,
  2. Kevin Laland3 and
  3. Jens Krause4,5
  1. Redouan Bshary

Published Online: 5 JUL 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444342536.ch13

Fish Cognition and Behavior

Fish Cognition and Behavior

How to Cite

Bshary, R. (2011) Machiavellian Intelligence in Fishes, in Fish Cognition and Behavior (eds C. Brown, K. Laland and J. Krause), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444342536.ch13

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia

  2. 3

    Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9TS, Scotland, UK

  3. 4

    Department of Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany

  4. 5

    Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Author Information

  1. Université, de Neuchâtel, Rue Emile-Argand 11 CH-2007, Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 JUL 2011
  2. Published Print: 29 JUL 2011

Book Series:

  1. Fish and Aquatic Resources Series

Book Series Editors:

  1. Tony J. Pitcher

Series Editor Information

  1. Fisheries Centre, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Canada

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444332216

Online ISBN: 9781444342536



  • Machiavellian intelligence in fishes;
  • social strategic behaviour of fishes - and ‘Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis’;
  • cognitive abilities of individuals - understanding complex relationships;
  • tactical deception based on theory of mind - and operant conditioning;
  • aspects of Machiavellian intelligence - cooperation, reconciliation and deception fishes;
  • stable social groups, best known for cichlids - of great African lakes, cooperative breeding;
  • Neolamprologus species, subordinating - submissive behaviours, high-ranking group members;
  • audience effects in response to image scoring - and tactical deception;
  • cleaners, recognising, categorising clients - as per predator, resident and visitor;
  • Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis - and Prisoner's Dilemma-type cooperation, deception and manipulation


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Evidence for functional aspects of Machiavellian intelligence

  • Evidence for cognitive mechanisms in fishes

  • Discussion

  • Acknowledgements

  • References