Development of observational learning during school formation in jack mackerel Trachurus japonicus juveniles

Kohji Takahashi, Reiji Masuda, Yoh Yamashita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We assessed whether the development of observational learning in jack mackerel Trachurus japonicus juveniles corresponds with that of their schooling behaviour. Schooling behaviour was quantitatively analyzed by nearest neighbour distance and separation angle in two size classes of fish, 20-mm and 40-mm in body length. Observer and non-observer fish with matching sizes were conditioned to pellets by temporarily stopping aeration. Observer fish were provided with five observation trials of other individuals feeding near an air stone when aeration was stopped. After the observation trial, fish were conditioned to pellets with the stop of aeration, and then the learning process was evaluated by the increase in the association with the feeding area when aeration was stopped. In 20-mm fish, which were at an immature stage of schooling behaviour, there was no difference in the learning process between observer and non-observer fish. In contrast, 40-mm fish were confirmed to have a well-developed schooling behaviour, and the observer learnt the feeding area more efficiently than the non-observer. This study provides evidence that observational learning develops along with the development of the social interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural Processes
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioural ontogeny
  • Carangidae
  • Conditioning
  • Life history strategy
  • Social learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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