Navigation Links
Tiny fish make 'eyes' at their killer
Date:8/19/2013

Small prey fish can grow a bigger 'eye' on their rear fins as a way of distracting predators and dramatically boosting their chances of survival, new scientific research has found.

Researchers from Australia's ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) have made a world-first discovery that, when constantly threatened with being eaten, small damsel fish not only grow a larger false 'eye spot' near their tail but also reduce the size of their real eyes.

The result is a fish that looks like it is heading in the opposite direction potentially confusing predatory fish with plans to gobble them up, says Oona Lnnstedt, a graduate student at CoECRS and James Cook University.

For decades scientists have debated whether false eyespots, or dark circular marks on less vulnerable regions of the bodies of prey animals, played an important role in protecting them from predators or were simply a fortuitous evolutionary accident.

The CoECRS team has found the first clear evidence that fish can change the size of both the misleading spot and their real eye to maximise their chances of survival when under threat.

"It's an amazing feat of cunning for a tiny fish," Ms Lonnstedt says. "Young damsel fish are pale yellow in colour and have this distinctive black circular 'eye' marking towards their tail, which fades as they mature. We figured it must serve an important purpose when they are young."

"We found that when young damsel fish were placed in a specially built tank where they could see and smell predatory fish without being attacked, they automatically began to grow a bigger eye spot, and their real eye became relatively smaller, compared with damsels exposed only to herbivorous fish, or isolated ones.

"We believe this is the first study to document predator-induced changes in the size of eyes and eye-spots in prey animals."

When the researchers investigated what happens in nature on a coral reef with lots of predators, they found that juvenile damsel fish with enlarged eye spots had an amazing five times the survival rate of fish with a normal-sized spot.

"This was dramatic proof that eyespots work and give young fish a hugely increased chance of not being eaten.

"We think the eyespots not only cause the predator to attack the wrong end of the fish, enabling it to escape by accelerating in the opposite direction, but also reduce the risk of fatal injury to the head," she explains.

The team also noted that when placed in proximity to a predator the young damsel fish also adopted other protective behaviours and features, including reducing activity levels, taking refuge more often and developing a chunkier body shape less easy for a predator to swallow.

"It all goes to show that even a very young, tiny fish a few millimetres long have evolved quite a range of clever strategies for survival which they can deploy when a threatening situation demands," Ms Lonnstedt says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Oona Lonnstedt
oona.lonnstedt1@jcu.edu.au
64-670-021-8346
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. MIT researchers reveal how the brain keeps eyes on the prize
2. TabletKiosk and SMI Collaborate to Produce the Sahara EyeSlate
3. Pleasure response from chocolate: You can see it in the eyes
4. Zebrafish may hold the answer to repairing damaged retinas and returning eyesight to people
5. Looking into a flys eyes
6. New technique to deliver stem cell therapy may help damaged eyes regain their sight
7. Seeing the world through the eyes of an Orangutan
8. Brain may see more than the eyes, study indicates
9. EyeLock Inc. Introduces EyeSwipe Nano TS Iris Scanning Turnstile Solution for Secure Access Control
10. The eyes have it: Men do see things differently to women
11. Color-coded markers may help doctors diagnose neural diseases through the eyes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/18/2016)... March 18, 2016 --> ... Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter ... companies in the border security market and the continuing migration ... Europe has led visiongain to publish ... success. --> defence & security companies in ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... March 14, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ... --> - Renvoi : image disponible via ... --> --> DERMALOG, le ... de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement des ... sera utilisé pour produire des cartes d,identité aux ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... 2016 This BCC Research report provides an ... RNA Sequencing (RNA Seq) market for the years 2015, ... and reagents, data analysis, and services. Use ... RNA-Sequencing market such as RNA-Sequencing tools and reagents, RNA-Sequencing ... affecting each segment and forecast their market growth, future ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... TURIN, Italy , April 29, 2016 ... version 5.11, the latest update to its industry-leading treatment ... has shown that Monaco version ... Users can now attain calculation speeds up to four ... Monaco . With the industry,s gold standard ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... Asymmetrex will deliver a talk on its first-in-class technologies for tissue ... 2016 Meeting on RNAiMicroRNA Biology to Reprogramming & CRISPR-based Genome Engineering ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) will ... Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. Shimadzu’s high-performance instruments enable laboratories to test cannabis ... attendees can stop by booth 1021 to learn how Shimadzu’s instruments can help ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. , April ... UTHR ) announced today that Martine Rothblatt , ... will provide an overview and update on the company,s ... Health Care Conference. The presentation will take ... Eastern Time, and can be accessed via a live ...
Breaking Biology Technology: