Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stickleback Fish Follow Prawns To Find Good Places To Eat

Date:
December 29, 2007
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
A new study reveals that prawns can be used by fish species to find the best places to eat. Research into the behavior patterns of sticklebacks highlights the fact they use prawns to determine the best place to be. Prawns, it seems however, don't have the same aptitude to use the sticklebacks for their advantage.

A new study from the University of Leicester reveals that prawns can be used by fish species to find the best places to eat.

Related Articles


Research into the behaviour patterns of sticklebacks highlights the fact they use prawns to determine the best place to be. Prawns, it seems however, don’t have the same aptitude to use the sticklebacks for their advantage.

Professor Hart said: “It is a common experience for most of us to look at what other people are doing when we ourselves are not sure of what to do next. One of the benefits of being a social species is that we can tap into the expertise of our fellow humans to improve our own chances of success when circumstances are uncertain. Many would argue that a key element in the development of culture is the human ability to observe other’s behaviour and to copy it.

“The more we learn about non-human behaviour the more we find that other animals show behavioural precursors to our own. These early forms of a behaviour may not be as elaborate as our own, but they are directed towards solving the same problems of surviving and getting enough to eat.

“Our research reveals sticklebacks can use other species to find the right place to be. Sticklebacks occur alongside common prawns in the brackish waters of many of our estuaries and forage together within the same areas of shallow water.

“It has been fascinating to learn from the new results that sticklebacks can use the presence of prawns that have been kept in the same conditions as themselves to determine where to be. When a stickleback on its own was put in a position where it could either join a group of prawns that had been kept in the same environmental conditions as itself or a group that had been kept in different conditions, the fish spent more time with the prawns from its own environment.

“A further experiment showed that this choice could have important implications for feeding. When strange and familiar groups of prawns were accompanied by a swarm of water fleas that the fish could see but not capture, the subject stickleback made more attacks at the water fleas nearest to the familiar group of prawns. The implication is that choosing to be near prawns from their own habitat influences not only where sticklebacks go, but also where they feed, and what they might end up feeding upon.

“In contrast, the prawns cannot use sticklebacks to find the right place to be. Prawns are attracted to other prawns that come from the same habitat as themselves, but not to sticklebacks from the same habitat. As a result the relationship between the species is asymmetric and sticklebacks could be said to be exploiting the information contained in the presence of prawns from their habitat. The prawns are signals that combine together with chemical cues to provide information to sticklebacks on where to be.”

These results illustrate how complex are the relations between animals in a natural ecosystem.

Professor Hart added: “We think of animals as mostly interacting with other members of their species and essentially ignoring all other kinds. This work shows that, just like humans, animals have a wide variety of relationships with other species creating a diverse network which is not based only on who eats whom. An ecosystem also contains significant information networks where individuals with widely separate taxonomic status can have interactions that are important to at least one of the pair.”

The research from the University of Leicester Department of Biology has been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society by Mike Webster (now at St Andrews), Ashley Ward and Paul Hart.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Stickleback Fish Follow Prawns To Find Good Places To Eat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071221233239.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2007, December 29). Stickleback Fish Follow Prawns To Find Good Places To Eat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071221233239.htm
University of Leicester. "Stickleback Fish Follow Prawns To Find Good Places To Eat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071221233239.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Wrongly categorized as lizard fossils, snake fossils now show the reptile could have developed earlier than we thought — 70 million years earlier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins