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The Evolution of Lateralization in Group Hunting Sailfish
Max Planck Inst Human Dev, Ctr Adapt Rat, Lentzeallee 94, D-14195 Berlin, Germany.;Leibniz Inst Freshwater Ecol & Inland Fisheries, Dept Biol & Ecol Fishes, Mueggelseedamm 310, D-12587 Berlin, Germany.;Lubeck Univ Appl Sci, Dept Elect Engn & Comp Sci, D-23562 Lubeck, Germany..
Lubeck Univ Appl Sci, Dept Elect Engn & Comp Sci, D-23562 Lubeck, Germany..
Leibniz Inst Freshwater Ecol & Inland Fisheries, Dept Biol & Ecol Fishes, Mueggelseedamm 310, D-12587 Berlin, Germany.;Humboldt Univ, Fac Life Sci, Albrecht Daniel Thaer Inst, Invalidenstr 42, D-10115 Berlin, Germany..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics. Stockholm Univ, Dept Zool, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.
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2017 (English)In: Current Biology, ISSN 0960-9822, E-ISSN 1879-0445, Vol. 27, no 4, 521-526 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Lateralization is widespread throughout the animal kingdom [1-7] and can increase task efficiency via shortening reaction times and saving on neural tissue [8-16]. However, lateralization might be costly because it increases predictability [17-21]. In predator-prey interactions, for example, predators might increase capture success because of specialization in a lateralized attack, but at the cost of increased predictability to their prey, constraining the evolution of lateralization. One unexplored mechanism for evading such costs is group hunting: this would allow individual-level specialization, while still allowing for group-level unpredictability. We investigated this mechanism in group hunting sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, attacking schooling sardines, Sardinella aurita. During these attacks, sailfish alternate in attacking the prey using their elongated bills to slash or tap the prey [22-24]. This rapid bill movement is either leftward or rightward. Using behavioral observations of identifiable individual sailfish hunting in groups, we provide evidence for individual-level attack lateralization in sailfish. More strongly lateralized individuals had a higher capture success. Further evidence of lateralization comes from morphological analyses of sailfish bills that show strong evidence of one-sided micro-teeth abrasions. Finally, we show that attacks by single sailfish are indeed highly predictable, but predictability rapidly declines with increasing group size because of a lack of population-level lateralization. Our results present a novel benefit of group hunting: by alternating attacks, individual-level attack lateralization can evolve, without the negative consequences of individual-level predictability. More generally, our results suggest that group hunting in predators might provide more suitable conditions for the evolution of strategy diversity compared to solitary life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 27, no 4, 521-526 p.
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Biological Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-318962DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.044ISI: 000394724600022PubMedID: 28190733OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-318962DiVA: diva2:1085596
Available from: 2017-03-29 Created: 2017-03-29 Last updated: 2017-04-06Bibliographically approved

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