University of Oulu

Topi K Lehtonen, Venkatesh Nagarajan-Radha, Damian K Dowling, Bob Bm Wong, Size, more than colour, drives dyadic interactions in sub-adults of a colour polymorphic cichlid, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 136, Issue 1, May 2022, Pages 111–119,

Size, more than colour, drives dyadic interactions in sub-adults of a colour polymorphic cichlid

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Author: Lehtonen, Topi K.1,2; Nagarajan-Radha, Venkatesh1,3; Dowling, Damian K.1;
Organizations: 1School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia
2Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, PO Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Lab, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oxford University Press, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-22


Social and aggressive behaviours often affect the fitness of multiple interacting individuals simultaneously. Here, we assessed dyadic interactions in a colour-polymorphic cichlid fish, the red devil, Amphilophus labiatus. We found that sub-adult red devil pairs of smaller body size interacted more, and were more aggressive towards each other, than pairs comprising larger individuals. Interactions did not significantly differ between colour morphs, i.e. between dark, gold and heterotypic pairs. Interestingly, within a broad range of parameters, an automated measure of time that the two fish spent in close proximity was an accurate proxy for their level of aggression, as measured by an observer from video recordings. These results show that, between sub-adult red devils, (aggressive) interactions significantly depend on body size, but not colour morph, of the interacting individuals. In addition, the results support the use of automated data-gathering approaches as an appropriate tool for studies of aggression.

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Series: Biological journal of the Linnean Society
ISSN: 0024-4066
ISSN-E: 1095-8312
ISSN-L: 0024-4066
Volume: 136
Issue: 1
Pages: 111 - 119
DOI: 10.1093/biolinnean/blac014
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Copyright information: © 2022 The Linnean Society of London. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.