Navigation Links
Cichlid male nannies help out, especially if they've been sneaking

The highly social cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher, endemic to Lake Tanganyika in Africa, live in social groups consisting of a dominant breeding pair and between 1 and 15 subordinates of both sexes that perform brood care, territory defence and maintenance. Subordinates are often distantly related or unrelated to the dominants.

Cooperative breeding of this kind has puzzled evolutionary biologists for a long time as it is costly and often does not generate obvious fitness benefits to subordinates. In the case of N. pulcher, the main benefit for subordinates to stay in a territory of dominant breeders seems to be the protection gained against predators provided by the large group members.

Previously, it was assumed that male subordinates never achieved paternity but the Bristol researchers suspected that, due to low relatedness between dominants and subordinates, mature male subordinates would attempt to father offspring and that achieving paternity would increase their helping behaviour.

The team, led by Dr Rick Bruintjes, tested this theory by studying groups of cichlids at Kasakalawe Point, Zambia and found that while dominant females were the mothers of 99.7 per cent of all offspring, the dominant males only sired 88.8 per cent. Subordinate females did not participate in reproduction, but male subordinates successfully gained paternity in 27.8 per cent of all clutches.

Furthermore, subordinate males that sired offspring defended more rigorously against egg predators compared to similar males that did not sire offspring, and they also tended to stay closer to the breeding shelter.

The study shows that the cooperative behaviour of the subordinate male fish has a direct fitness benefit for them that is, producing their own offspring as well as such indirect benefits as safety.

Dr Bruintjes said: "This is the first evidence in a cooperatively breeding fish species that the helping effort of male subordinates may depend on obtained paternity, which stresses the need to consider direct fitness benefits in evolutionary studies of helping behaviour."

Contact: Hannah Johnson
University of Bristol

Related biology news :

1. Paternity of subordinates raises cooperative effort in cichlids
2. East African cichlid fish offer new understanding of genetic basis of sex determination
3. The importance of being helpful -- Cooperative cichlids boost their own reproductive success
4. Power corrupts, especially when it lacks status
5. Headaches are common in year following traumatic brain injury, especially among females
6. Intense sweets taste especially good to some kids
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , ... multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex ... any combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. ... SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for ... biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration ... modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the ... readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom of ...
(Date:3/31/2016)...   LegacyXChange, Inc. ... LegacyXChange is excited to release its first ... be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed authentic ... also provide potential shareholders a sense of the value ... industry that is notorious for fraud. The video is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... focused on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar ... presented on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today ... life sciences incubator to accelerate the development of ... space at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential life ... many early stage organizations - access to laboratory infrastructure. ... launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each winner ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016 ... that will allow them to produce up to ... from one lot within one week. These high-quality, ... time laboriously preparing cells and spend more time ... possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016  According to Kalorama Information, ... sequencing (NGS) market include significant efforts in automation ... More accessible and affordable sequencers, say the healthcare ... for consumables including sample prep materials.  The healthcare ... Sample Preparation for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: