Navigation Links
Fishy cooperation

It is commonly thought that animals can be arranged along a ladder of intelligence—a sort of modern-day Scala Naturae—with humans inevitably at the top, followed by our close relatives, the primates, all the way down to fish and other slimy creatures. Over the past decade, this ladder has been challenged by claims of high intelligence and great social complexity in other animals. For example, spotted hyenas establish hierarchies in which dominant females support the rank contests of their daughters. Bottlenose dolphins form "political" coalitions every bit as complex as those of chimpanzees. Caledonian crows not only use tools in the wild, but also modify tools in the lab, an ability once thought to define humans.

And now come the fish. In an article published today in PLoS Biology, Redouan Bshary from the University of Neuchâtel and colleagues describe the astonishing discovery of coordinated hunting between groupers (Plectropomus pessuliferus) and giant moray eels (Gymnothorax javanicus) in the Red Sea. These two species make a perfectly complementary pair. The moray eel can enter crevices in the coral reef, whereas the grouper hunts in open waters around the reef. Prey can escape from the grouper by hiding in a crevice and from the moray eel by leaving the reef, but prey has nowhere to go if hunted by a combination of these two predators. The article offers a description and accompanying videos, such as the one showing a grouper and eel swimming side by side as if they are good friends on a stroll. It also offers quantification, which is truly hard to achieve in the field, of the tendencies involved in this mutually beneficial arrangement. The investigators were able to demonstrate that the two predators seek each other's company, spending more time together than expected by chance. They also found that groupers actively recruit moray eels through a curious head shake made close to the moray eel's head to which the eel responds by leaving its crevice an d joining the grouper. Groupers showed such recruitment more often when hungry.

The observed role division comes "naturally" to two predators with different hunting specializations, and is therefore far simpler to achieve than for members of the same species. Also, recruitment is quite common in the animal kingdom—for example, primates have specialized signals to solicit each other's support in fights. What is truly spectacular about this study is that the entire interaction pattern—two actors who seemingly know what they are going to do and how this will benefit them—is not one we usually associate with fish. This is probably because we tend to develop cognitively demanding accounts for our own behavior and believe that absent the same cognition, the behavior simply cannot take place. It is very well possible, however, that our accounts overestimate the amount of intelligence that goes into complex behavior. Moreover, we have a tendency to underestimate the intelligence of animals at lower rungs of the evolutionary ladder. In fact, it is the ladder idea itself that is wrong. The best way to approach animal intelligence is from an evolutionary and ecological perspective focused on the tasks that each species faces in nature. In this regard, these two reef predators show us that if it comes to survival, highly intelligent solutions are within the reach of animals as different from us as fish. (Watch a grouper signal to a giant moray eel resting in a cave by shaking its head in front of the moray in this video.)


'"/>

Source:Public Library of Science


Related biology news :

1. Marine sponge yields nanoscale secrets
2. Rice scientists make first nanoscale pH meter
3. Blood-compatible nanoscale materials possible using heparin
4. Embryonic stem cells do better on bumpy nanoscale mattress
5. Spelling out cancer on the nanoscale
6. Researchers to develop active nanoscale surfaces for biological separations
7. Bones at the nanoscale
8. Penn researcher shows that DNA gets kinky easily at the nanoscale
9. NYU researchers simulate molecular biological clock
10. Automatic extraction of gene/protein biological functions from biomedical text
11. DuPonts first biologically derived polymer receives global recognition
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/27/2017)... WASHINGTON , Feb. 27, 2017   Strategic ... fund, today announced it has led a $3.5 million investment ... collaboration platform. Strategic Cyber Ventures is DC based and ... and Hank Thomas . Ron Gula , ... Tech Ventures, also participated in this series A round ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... 22, 2017 With the biometrics market ... identifies four technologies that innovative and agile startups ... share in the changing competitive landscape: multifactor authentication ...   "Companies can no longer afford ... says Dimitrios Pavlakis , Industry Analyst at ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017  Genos, a community ... that it has received Laboratory Accreditation from the ... is presented to laboratories that meet stringent requirements ... scientifically rigorous processes. "Genos is committed ... laboratory practices. We,re honored to be receiving CAP ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... , ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... material that exhibits both viscous and elastic characteristics when deformed, which is identical ... exhibits properties to gently absorb compressive forces and return to its natural state ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... The Global Market for Bioproducts Should Reach $714.6 Billion by ... 8.9%, This research report quantifies the two ... segments: bio-derived chemicals, biofuels, pharmaceuticals (biodrugs and herbal/botanicals), biocomposite materials, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Mass. , March 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... partner to global in vitro diagnostics manufacturers ... of the industry,s first multiplexed Inherited ... disease testing by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The ... were developed with input from industry experts ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017  BioPharmX Corporation (NYSE MKT: BPMX), a ... market, today reported financial results for the quarter ... provide an update on the company,s clinical development ... "We are pleased to report that last year ... President Anja Krammer. "We achieved key clinical milestones ...
Breaking Biology Technology: