Grace Litavsky, Emma Borgert, Amy Friemoth, Greta Schoettmer


Presentation: 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Platys (Xiphophorus maculatus) are naturally found in warm, shallow waters and typically live in social groups. These fish demonstrate complex social hierarchies where dominant individuals assert authority through aggressive and physical displays. Subordinate fish may display submissive behaviors like swimming away from the dominant individual. However, when exposed to a predator, the social dynamic of platy fish groups can quickly shift. Here, we investigated how exposure to predators and social structure influence the interactions of the platy fish. To do this, treatment groups of male-male, female-female, and male-female had their behaviors scored for 5 minutes before predator exposure as a control and for 5 minutes after with 30 second acclimation time after the 30 second predator exposure. Statistical significance was only observed for the behavior of top time, with differences observed between the male-male and male-female treatment groups during the pre period. No significance was observed between treatments or within the overall data for the pre and post periods for the behaviors of gravel time and schooling time. The effects of social structure influences the behaviors of platys greater than exposure to a predator, as significant changes in behaviors were not observed between the pre and post periods. This research is important because it can tell us more about the complex social structure of platy fish and help us to understand the evolutionary history of their behaviors.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project 202310 BIO 330 01

Primary Advisor

Jennifer Hellmann

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Interactive Effects of Predation and Sex of Group Member on Social Behaviors in Platys