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Abstract

The hypothesis that shoaling fish can obtain information about a predator's approach from changes in the behaviour of other shoal members was tested in an experiment in which receiver minnows (Phoxinus phoxinus) behind a one-way-mirror could observe the reaction of transmitter minnows threatened by the stalk of a pike (Esox lucius) model. Although the receiver minnows were out of visual contact with the pike model they decreased their foraging behaviour and started hiding when the pike model came towards the feeding patch of the transmitter fish. The presence of skittering behaviour and inspection behaviour in the transmitter but not in the receiver fish suggests that individual confirmation of the predator does play a role in determining the nature of the anti-predator response. Nevertheless there is clear evidence that receiver fish modify their own behaviour on the basis of information obtained from individuals which have seen a predator.