Individual Behavioural Strategies Associated with Predator Inspection in Minnow Shoals


School of Biological Sciences, University College of North Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2UW, U.K.


When confronted with a live pike, Esox lucius, European minnows, Phoxinus phoxinus, showed individual differences in rate of predator inspection. Predator inspection behaviour, in which single individuals or small groups approached the predator, was ordinated with several other behavioural parameters using principal components analysis. Individual minnows showed one of two strategies. Fish with high inspection rates were bolder, skittered more frequently and fed more persistently than fish with low inspection rates. Fish with low inspection rates showed the opposite strategy. Individuals did not show habituation of predator inspection during trials or over the experimental period.