Lateral line morphology, sensory perception and collective behaviour in African cichlid fish

Elliott Scott, Duncan E Edgley, Alan Smith, Domino A Joyce, Martin J Genner*, Christos C Ioannou*, Sabine Hauert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


The lateral line system of fishes provides cues for collective behaviour, such as shoaling, but it remains unclear how anatomical lateral line variation leads to behavioural differences among species. Here we studied associations between lateral line morphology and collective behaviour using two morphologically divergent species and their second-generation hybrids. We identify collective behaviours associated with variation in canal and superficial lateral line morphology, with closer proximities to neighbouring fish associated with larger canal pore sizes and fewer superficial neuromasts. A mechanistic understanding of the observed associations was provided by hydrodynamic modelling of an artificial lateral line sensor, which showed that simulated canal-based neuromasts were less susceptible to saturation during unidirectional movement than simulated superficial neuromasts, while increasing the canal pore size of the simulated lateral line sensor elevated sensitivity to vortices shed by neighbouring fish. Our results propose a mechanism behind lateral line flow sensing during collective behaviour in fishes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number221478
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
E.S. was supported by an EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership studentship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant no. S106111-163). D.E.E. was supported by a NERC GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership studentship from the Natural Environment Research Council (grant no. NE/L002434/1). This work was also supported by a research grant from HFSP (ref. no. RGP0010/2020). Acknowledgements

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Lateral line morphology, sensory perception and collective behaviour in African cichlid fish'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this