Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fish weight-watchers

Date:
June 16, 2011
Source:
Zoological Society of London
Summary:
Telling your partner to watch her weight is not recommended -- unless you're a male cleaner fish, according to a new study.

Telling your partner to watch her weight is not recommended-unless you're a male cleaner fish, reports a new study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Cleaner fish feed in male-female pairs by removing parasites from larger 'client' fish. While providing this cleaning service, cleaners may get greedy and bite clients rather than sticking to parasites. This cheating by cleaners causes mealtimes to come to an abrupt end as the disgruntled client fish swims off. Females that bite clients receive aggressive punishment from their male partners for such greedy behaviour.

Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and a number of other leading scientific institutions have now shown that male fish lose more than just a meal from their partner's big appetite -- they also risk the female becoming so large that she will turn into a rival male.

Cleaner fish live in groups led by one dominant male with a harem of up to 16 females. All cleaner fish are born female and turn into males when they become the biggest fish in their group. A male cleaner fish usually partners with the biggest female fish in the harem for cleaning duties.

"Our research shows that male cleaner fish are sensitive to their female partner's size. One reason for keeping a cheating female in check may be to stop her eating too much and then challenging his position as the dominant male on the reef," says Dr Nichola Raihani, lead author from ZSL.

The research also shows that the male cleaner fish distinguish between high and low value meals and will punish the female more severely if she drives off a high-value client.

The female fish will respond to this punishment by providing better service to high value clients in the future. This is the first non-human example of where punishment fits the crime and results in the offender adjusting their behaviour according to the potential penalties.

Dr Nichola Raihani says: "Cleaner fish and humans may not share many physical traits, but cleaner fish punish cheating individuals, just as we punish people who step outside of the law. In both situations, harsher punishment may serve as a stronger deterrent against future crimes."

Future research will address how cleaner fish assess how market forces affect the service quality that cleaner fish provide to client species.

About the bluestreak cleaner wrasse

The bluestreak cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) is one of several species of cleaner wrasse found on coral reefs in the Indian Ocean and much of the Pacific Ocean, as well as many seas, including the Red Sea and those around Southeast Asia. Like other cleaner wrasses, it eats parasites and dead tissue off larger fishes' skin in a mutualistic relationship that provides food and protection for the wrasse, and considerable health benefits for the other fish.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Nichola Raihani et al. Male cleaner wrasses adjust punishment of female partners according to the stakes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2011 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.0690

Cite This Page:

Zoological Society of London. "Fish weight-watchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614203625.htm>.
Zoological Society of London. (2011, June 16). Fish weight-watchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614203625.htm
Zoological Society of London. "Fish weight-watchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614203625.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
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