Navigation Links
Landlubber fish leap for love when tide is right
Date:8/30/2011

One of the world's strangest animals a unique fish that lives on land and can leap large distances despite having no legs has a rich and complex social life, a new study has found.

The odd lifestyle of the Pacific leaping blenny (Alticus arnoldorum) has been detailed for the first time in research findings that throw new light on how animal life first evolved to colonise the land.

The Pacific leaping blenny is a marine fish yet is terrestrial in all aspects of its daily adult life, eking out a precarious existence in the intertidal zone of rocky shores in Micronesia, according to the study published in the journal Ethology , led by Dr Terry Ord, of the UNSW Evolution and Ecology Research Centre.

"This remarkable little fish seems to have made a highly successful transition across the waterland interface, although it is still needs to stay moist to enable it to breathe through its gills and skin," says Dr Ord, who is an evolutionary ecologist with a special interest in animal behaviour.

"Our study showed that life on land for a marine fish is heavily dependent on tide and temperature fluctuations, so much so that almost all activity is restricted to a brief period at mid-tide, the timing of which changes daily. During our field study on Guam we never saw one voluntary return to water. Indeed, they spend much of their time actively avoiding submersion by incoming waves, even when we tried to capture them for study.

"I can tell you they are very hard to catch and are extremely agile on land. They move quickly over complex rocky surfaces using a unique tail-twisting behaviour combined with expanded pectoral and tail fins that let them cling to almost any firm surface. To reach higher ground in a hurry, they can also twist their bodies and flick their tails to leap many times their own body length."

Working with Toni Hsieh, of Temple University in the US, Dr Ord found that adult blennies shelter in rock crevices at high and low tide, emerging at mid-tide to feed, breed and socialise in surprisingly complex ways given their brief window of opportunity.

The researchers discovered that males are territorial and use complex visual displays to warn off rivals and attract mates. Females were seen aggressively defending feeding territory at the start of their breeding season, while males displayed a red-coloured fin and nodded their heads vigorously to attract females to their closely defended rock holes. The team filmed females inspecting these holes before entering with a chosen mate.

Little is known of their breeding and development of the young, but it seems that females lay their eggs in a chosen rock hole then play no further role in parenting, leaving the male to guard the eggs.

"The Pacific leaping blenny offers a unique opportunity to discover in a living animal how a waterland transition has taken place," says Dr Ord.

"We know that our ancient ancestors evolved originally from lobe-finned fish but, today, all such fish are fully aquatic. Within the blenny family, however, are species that are either highly terrestrial, amphibious or entirely aquatic. Remarkably, representatives of all these types can be found on or around Guam, making it a unique evolutionary laboratory."


'/>"/>

Contact: Bob Beale
bbeale@unsw.edu.au
61-241-170-435
University of New South Wales
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UofL bioinformatics faculty is a Fulbright Scholar
2. IVF treatment and multiple births: Free-market patient rights versus government regulation
3. Your mother was right: Study shows good posture makes you tougher
4. Fighting back from extinction, New Zealand right whale is returning home
5. Fulbright scholar takes ecological theory to Andean heights
6. Heart Failure: Targeting the right patients for CRT-D
7. Striking the right balance: JBEI researchers counteract biofuel toxicity in microbes
8. Youku Upgrades Fingerprinting System for Tougher Copyright Protection Measures
9. How molecules get to the right place at the right time
10. Youku Upgrades Fingerprinting System for Tougher Copyright Protection Measures
11. Jurassic Park had it right: Some dinosaurs hunted by night
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/4/2017)... Ill. , Oct. 4, 2017  GCE Solutions, a global ... new data and document anonymization solution on October 4, 2017. Shadow ... pharmaceutical field to comply with policy 0070 of the European Medicines ... and data. ... by GCE Solutions ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ITHACA, N.Y. , June 23, 2017  IBM ... in dairy research, today announced a new collaboration using ... the chances that the global milk supply is impacted ... project, Cornell University has become the newest academic institution ... Chain, a food safety initiative that includes IBM Research, ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... RAM Group , Singaporean based ... in biometric authentication based on a novel  ... to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on ... Ram Group and its partners. This sensor will have ... and security. Ram Group is a next generation ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... publication of a United States multicenter, prospective clinical study that demonstrates the ... diagnostic test capable of identifying clinically significant acute bacterial and viral respiratory ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At ... Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist ... has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., a data solutions ... “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. Nicolas Cacciabeve, Managing ... how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in diagnostic confidence.* ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility and ... in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort study ... comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: