Changes in minnow, Pimephales promelas Rafinesque, schooling behaviour associated with infections of brainencysted larvae of the fluke, Ornithodiplostomum ptychocheilus



The schooling behaviour of unparasitized fathead minnows, Pimephales promelus Rafinesque, was compared to that of minnows infected with brain-dwelling metacercariae of the fluke, Ornithodiplostomum ptychocheilus (Faust). Laboratory results showed that schools of infected fish divided more frequently, were less compact, and occupied positions closer to the water surface than control schools. These results are discussed with reference to the possibility that this larval parasite manipulates minnow behaviour to increase host vulnerability to predation.