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Abstract

Population differences in the schooling behaviour of adult guppies (Poecilia reticulata) from Trinidad have previously been well documented. This paper demonstrates that variation in schooling behaviour is also present in newborn fish. Guppies from the Aripo River of Trinidad display well-developed schooling behaviour from birth. In addition to forming cohesive and polarized groups, these newborn fish also exhibit predator inspection behaviour. Newborn guppies from the Paria River perform inspections but, unlike the Aripo fish, are poor schoolers. Population variation in behaviour at birth does not necessarily reflect the pattern observed in the adult fish. As adults, guppies from the Upper section of the Aripo River have a much lower schooling tendency and are less wary during inspection than the downstream Lower Aripo guppies. At birth, however, the schooling behaviour and inspection behaviour in the two populations is identical. These results suggest that different selective pressures operate on adult and newborn guppies in Trinidad.