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Risk management in fish: How cichlids prevent their young from being eaten
Date:3/19/2013

ry that are unrelated to them?

Schaedelin suggests that foster parents may accept unrelated fry as a way of diluting predation of their own offspring. If this is so, parents should adopt fry that are not larger than their own young, as smaller fry are known to be predated first. The researchers were indeed able to show that adopted fry were the same size as native fry within broods, although they were generally larger than fry that were not offered out for adoption. It seems that parents selectively allow unrelated fry to assimilate into their own broods while also delivering their fry for adoption by others.

Sharing the care of broods among different families thus represents a kind of insurance policy against the predation of a nest. Schaedelin summarizes the findings neatly: "in a species that is so highly predated, it must have been important to develop a strategy to ensure that at least some of the young survive. It seems that fish do this by not putting all their eggs (or young) in one basket."


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Contact: Dr. Richard Wagner
richard.wagner@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-148-909-15831
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

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