Cerebral lateralization is a widespread trait among animals, is often manifested as side biases in behaviour (laterality) and has been suggested to provide fitness benefits. Here we examined the influence of laterality on the organisation of fish schools using rainbowfish (Melanotaenia spp) as model species. The pattern and strength of laterality for each individual was determined by examining eye preferences whilst examining their reflection in a mirror. Schools of four fish of known laterality were then created and the preferred position for each fish within the school was repeatedly observed in a flume. Fish which showed right eye preferences in the mirror test preferentially adopted a position on the left side of the school. Conversely, fish that showed left eye preferences in the mirror test or where non-lateralised preferentially adopted a position slightly to the right side of the school. However, this general pattern varied depending on the species and sex of the school. Our results strongly implicate individual laterality in the geometry of school formation.
Bibost A-L, Brown C (2013) Laterality Influences Schooling Position in Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia spp. PLoS ONE 8(11): e80907.