Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When it comes to fish families, the bigger and bossier the better

Date:
December 21, 2009
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
When given the choice between unfamiliar social groups, cichlid fish chose groups where the members are large and dominant.

A research team from McMaster University and the University of New South Wales has found that among cichlids, a species that lives in groups, members make strategic decisions about their living situation.
Credit: Image courtesy of McMaster University

If you are spending the holidays with big Uncle Frank or bossy Aunt Minnie and wondering whether you would be better off with another family, spare a thought for the humble cichlid fish.

A research team from McMaster University and the University of New South Wales has found that among cichlids, a species that lives in groups, members make strategic decisions about their living situation.

The results appear in the current issue of Biology Letters.

The helper class of cichlids showed a preference for joining groups of familiar individuals, some likely to be family members. But when given the choice between unfamiliar social groups the helpers chose groups where the members were bigger and bossier.

At the beginning of the experiment, which was conducted in Zambia's Lake Tanganyika, researchers expected that individual cichlids would base their group-living arrangements on whether they could improve their social rank and thereby expedite their attainment of breeding status.

However, when faced with a choice between unfamiliar groups they chose the group that did not enhance their rank but that contained larger group members.

"It seems that cichlids potentially prefer groups of dominant members for reasons of survival due to the increased protection from predation when larger group members are around," says Marian Wong, a post-doctoral fellow in McMaster's Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, and co-author of the study.

In other words, fish -- like humans -- understand that membership has its rewards.

The study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Commonwealth Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Post Doctoral Fellowship.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "When it comes to fish families, the bigger and bossier the better." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091214121438.htm>.
McMaster University. (2009, December 21). When it comes to fish families, the bigger and bossier the better. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091214121438.htm
McMaster University. "When it comes to fish families, the bigger and bossier the better." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091214121438.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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