In this work, we address the case of red nose tetra fish Hemigrammus bleheri swimming in groups in a uniform flow, giving special attention to the basic interactions and cooperative swimming of a single pair of fish. We first bring evidence of synchronization of the two fish, where the swimming modes are dominated by ‘out-phase’ and ‘in-phase’ configurations. We show that the transition to this synchronization state is correlated with the swimming speed (i.e. the flow rate), and thus with the magnitude of the hydrodynamic pressure generated by the fish body during each swimming cycle. From a careful spatio-temporal analysis corresponding to those synchronized modes, we characterize the distances between the two individuals in a pair in the basic schooling pattern. We test the conclusions of the analysis of fish pairs with a second set of experiments using groups of three fish. By identifying the typical spatial configurations, we explain how the nearest neighbour interactions constitute the building blocks of collective fish swimming.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3500367.
- Received September 9, 2016.
- Accepted September 22, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.