Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Zigzag Display

  • Madeline Redd
  • Kristine O. EvansEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1982-1



Zigzag display includes a series of short, sharp turns, angles, or alterations in a course or direction involved in several survival and reproductive behaviors.


Zigzag display is a goal-oriented behavior, which facilitates predator avoidance and mate attraction for some species. As a strategy, zigzag display has been shown to enhance survival and reproductive success, ultimately leading to fitness benefits for a species.

Breeding Behavior

Zigzag display is evident in males of several species as a means to demonstrate quality as a potential mate. These body movements are an important determination in individual reproductive success. Most of the species exhibiting this strategy develop elaborate dance-like behaviors that include sharp or zigzag movements to signal courtship. The three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), a fish species native to northern coastal waters, uses zigzag display as a...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and AquacultureMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mystera M. Samuelson
    • 1
  1. 1.The Institute for Marine Mammal StudiesGulfportUSA