Lateralization of lateral displays in convict cichlids

Gareth Arnott, Charlotte Ashton, Robert Elwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


We examine lateralization of lateral displays in convict cichlids, Amatitlania nigrofasciata, and show a population level preference for showing the right side. This enables contesting pairs of fish to align in a head-to-tail posture, facilitating other activities. We found individuals spent a shorter mean time in each left compared with each right lateral display. This lateralization could lead to contesting pairs using a convention to align in a predictable head-to-tail arrangement to facilitate the assessment of fighting ability. It has major implications for the common use of mirror images to study fish aggression, because the 'opponent' would never cooperate and would consistently show the incorrect side when the real fish shows the correct side. With the mirror, the 'normal' head-to-tail orientation cannot be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-685
Number of pages3
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number5
Early online date10 Apr 2011
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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