Navigation Links
Nothing fishy about swimming with same-sized mates
Date:2/6/2013

Have you ever wondered why, and how, shoals of fish are comprised of fish of the same size? According to new research by Ashley Ward, from the University of Sydney in Australia, and Suzanne Currie, from Mount Allison University in Canada, fish can use a variety of different sensory cues to locate shoal-mates, but they are able to use chemical cues to find other fish of the same size as themselves. Using these cues, they can form a group with strength in numbers. The work is published online in Springer's journal, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

Forming groups is beneficial for animals. One important benefit is the reduction of individual risk from predators. Indeed when animals are in groups, predators are confronted by a number of almost identical prey animals, making it more challenging to select a target.

Dr. Ward said, "Fish typically form shoals with fish of the same size. The key question that motivated our study is this: How on earth does a fish know how big it is? For humans this is trivial - we can stand on a flat surface and see whether we're taller or shorter than someone, or we can look in a mirror. These options don't exist for fish, so how do they choose to associate with fish of the same size?"

The scientists explored which of their senses fish use both to assess the size of other individuals, and to determine how big they are themselves. They studied two freshwater shoaling fish species: three-spined stickleback and banded killfish. In a series of experiments, they exposed the fish to a variety of chemical cues - either from fish of the same species of varying sizes or a control, so-called 'blank' cue. Chemical cues are formed as fish constantly emit molecules into their surroundings.

Ward continued, "We know the sense of smell is well developed in fish and that they are sensitive to tiny differences in the chemical signature given off by others. So could they smell how big they are themselves and use this as a template to assess the size of others? It seems they can."

Both species of shoaling fish preferred the chemical cues of same-sized fish than those of larger or smaller fish from their own species. This suggests that the fish were able to determine their own size relative to other fish of the same species, primarily through chemical self-referencing.

"Using chemical cues to locate similarly sized fish of the same species in the wild promotes the formation of shoals, which creates confusion for predators as well as more coordinated, and potentially efficient, patterns of behavior for both activity and nutrition," concluded Ward.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Teaching about hearing can save young peoples ears
2. A birds song may teach us about human speech disorders
3. Fielding questions about climate change
4. New research about facial recognition turns common wisdom on its head
5. New discoveries about brain-hand connection sought to improve therapies, treatments, prosthetics
6. Expedition to undersea mountain yields new information about sub-seafloor structure
7. Consumers need simple, concise messages about benefits of phytonutrients
8. Whats in a surname? New study explores what the evolution of names reveals about China
9. Analysis raises atmospheric, ecologic and economic doubts about forest bioenergy
10. Fruit flies provide new knowledge about uninhibited cell growth
11. Study raises questions about use of anti-epilepsy drugs in newborns
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services ... Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage ... Model sm . In addition, CHS previously earned ... hospitals using an electronic medical record (EMR). ... high level of EMR usage in an outpatient ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based and Touchless), Product ... by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD 18.98 billion by ... Continue Reading ... ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160303/792302) ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... YORK , March 21, 2017 ... Marketing Cloud used by retailers such as 1-800-Flowers ... its platform — Product Recommendations and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s ... give more personalized product and replenishment recommendations to ... but also on predictions of customer intent drawn ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... Coffea arabica accounts ... and abiotic factors. During this educational webinar, participants will learn about the importance ... gain a better understanding of how genomics is important for coffee breeding improvement. ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... ... 14, 2017 , ... Every year, millions of dollars are ... community have recently come together to address this antibody crisis and develop standards ... , The team at Thermo Fisher Scientific has arranged for an ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... ... 14, 2017 , ... The Conference Forum has confirmed the one-day ... on September 6, 2017 at the Marriott Copley Place in Boston, MA. , Returning ... and Regulatory Strategy, Pfizer Innovative Research Lab, Pfizer, who leads 19 industry speakers in ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... August 11, 2017 , ... A staple in the community for more than ... important key elements including a new digital marketing strategy and updated logo. , As ... Miller has partnered with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center for the month ...
Breaking Biology Technology: