Royal Society Publishing

Social networks in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

Darren P. Croft, Jens Krause, Richard James

Abstract

Social network theory is used to elicit details of the social structure of a population of free–ranging guppies, Poecilia reticulata. They were found to have a complex and highly structured social network, which exhibited characteristics consistent with the ‘small world’ phenomenon. Stable partner associations between individuals were observed, a finding that fulfils the basic prerequisite for the evolution of reciprocal altruism. The findings are discussed in relation to the ecology and evolution of the wild population, highlighting the potential application of network theory to social associations in animals.

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