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Fish Leaders

May 16, 2017

Some fish are leaders and some are followers, especially when there are predators are around.



Guppy groupies. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Finding Nemo clip)

In “Finding Nemo, a school of fish escape a fishermans’ net by swimming in formation under the leadership of a single individual. Now, researchers report in Science Advances that groups of guppies will rely on one leader to make most decisions about which way to swim next, especially in predator-infested rivers. University of Bristol biologist Christos Ioannou explains.

CHRISTOS IOANNOU (University of Bristol):

There tend to be more leader or follower types in the high-predation environments. If you find yourself in a group where everyone else is quite shy, you might respond by then taking on that kind of leadership role. So you respond to the social environment that surrounds you.


The study suggests that social decisions can be strongly influenced by ecological factors. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard