video of redirected aggerssion from Redirected aggression as a conflict management tactic in the social cichlid fish Julidochromis regani

Conflict management consists of social behaviours that reduce the costs of conflict among group members. Redirected aggression—that is, when a recently attacked individual attacks a third party immediately after the original aggression—is considered a conflict management tactic, as it may reduce the victim's probability of being the object of further aggression. Redirected aggression has been reported in many vertebrates, but few quantitative studies have been conducted on this behaviour in fish. We examined the function of redirected aggression in Julidochromis regani, a social cichlid fish. Behavioural experiments showed that redirected aggression functioned to divert the original aggressor's attention toward a third party and to pre-empt an attack towards the victim by the third-party individual, specifically among females. We found, however, that redirected aggression did not delay the recurrence of aggression by the original aggressor. These results suggest that a primary function of redirected aggression is to maintain the dominance of its actor against a subordinate occupying an adjacent rank. This study provides the first evidence that redirected aggression functions to manage conflict in social fish.