Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reluctant hero? Cleaner fish show it pays to be selfless

Date:
January 12, 2010
Source:
Zoological Society of London
Summary:
Putting yourself in the line of fire is shown to reap huge rewards, in a new study. Researchers have discovered that male cleaner wrasse are quick to play the hero when their dinner is at stake.

Cleaner wrasse.
Credit: iStockphoto/Iliuta Goean

Putting yourself in the line of fire is shown to reap huge rewards, in a new study published in the journal Science.

Related Articles


Researchers from the Zoological Society of London, University of Queensland and the University of Neuchβtel have discovered that male cleaner wrasse are quick to play the hero when their dinner is at stake.

Cleaner wrasse live on coral reefs and feed on the parasites of larger 'client' fish. They gain an even bigger meal if they take some of the mucus off the skin of a client, but this cheating behaviour results in a disgruntled customer.

The 'Alan Sugars' of the fish world, male cleaner wrasse prove they're no small fry when it comes to punishing their employees for upsetting clients. Males will aggressively chase females who deliver poor customer service, seemingly protecting the interests of the client when in fact they've got their own stomachs in mind.

Lead author Dr Nichola Raihani from the Zoological Society of London says: "Clients will leave if they are cheated at a cleaning station. That means the male's dinner leaves if the female cheats. By punishing cheating females, the males are not really sticking up for the clients but are making sure that they get a decent meal."

This tendency to stick up for a victim is something that humans are particularly prone to, but no one really knows why we do it. This study raises the possibility that 'Robin Hood' type behaviour might be less charitable than we think.

The next stage of the research will concentrate on the threat posed to male fish by similar sized females who can undergo sex changes and ultimately challenge their authority.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Zoological Society of London. "Reluctant hero? Cleaner fish show it pays to be selfless." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107143907.htm>.
Zoological Society of London. (2010, January 12). Reluctant hero? Cleaner fish show it pays to be selfless. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107143907.htm
Zoological Society of London. "Reluctant hero? Cleaner fish show it pays to be selfless." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107143907.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) — Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) — A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary 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