what turns on zebra fish

Achievement Standard 90716 expects you to know something about a range of animal behaviours, including intraspecific relationships (territoriality, cooperative interactions, reproductive behaviours, hierarchical behaviour, competition for resources) – & the relationship between behaviour patterns & environmental factors.

Quite a range of stuff there – although it’s worth remembering that these are not isolated, stand-alone categories. With my swans, for example, territoriality, competition & reproductive behaviours were quite closely linked. On Pukepuke Lagoon, black swans breed on territories, & the size of those territories reflects (among other things) the outcome of competition for resources. And there was something of a hierarchy – one particular pair was dominant over all their neighbours & could pretty much be guaranteed to win any boundary encounters they might have. And there’s a strong environmental influence at play – at the local level, competition for areas where young cygnets can feed is significant in shaping territories, while on a country-wide scale, birds breed in territories or in colonies depending (again) on availability of resources.

All in all, behaviours associated with reproduction are quite fascinating, & ethologists have devoted what some may see as an unhealthy amount of time to documenting & explaining these key facets of animal life. So I was rather pleased to find a post on Pharyngula, from around 3 years ago, dealing with reproductive behaviour in zebrafish – a common lab animal, but not one I know a whole heap about. PZ talks about his own work, the things he has to do to keep his zebra fish happy, the things they need if they’re going to breed successfully, & also talks about a paper that includes some lovely illustrations of courtship behaviour in these cute little fish. A good resource, I think, for this particular area of your studies 🙂

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