Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Small male fish use high aggression strategy

Date:
September 1, 2012
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
In the deserts of central Australia lives a tough little fish known as the desert goby, and a new study is shedding light on the aggressive mating behaviour of smaller nest-holding males.

A male desert Goby performing an aggressive display.
Credit: P. Andreas Svensson

In the deserts of central Australia lives a tough little fish known as the desert goby, and a new study is shedding light on the aggressive mating behaviour of smaller nest-holding males.

Related Articles


Published in the PLoS ONE journal this month, a study led by Dr Andreas Svensson of Linnaeus University in Sweden in collaboration with Monash University and the University of Turku, Finland, investigated what determined such aggression observed in smaller nest-holding males.

In this species, the eggs are cared for by their father who will aggressively defend his nest against intruders. Once he attracts a female back to his nest to lay her eggs, he fans the eggs with his pectoral fins keeping them oxygenated. The researchers were surprised to find that small nesting males were more aggressive toward intruders than larger males.

Study co-author Dr Bob Wong, a Senior Lecturer at Monash University's School of Biological Sciences and an expert in behavioural and evolutionary ecology, said to attack early may be a beneficial strategy for small males, because they avoid revealing their inferiority to the intruder.

"In the animal world, competing males are expected to partake in a drawn out escalation of aggression, to avoid the risks of being injured by a superior opponent," Dr Wong said.

"We found the aggression of males was not affected by the presence of females and perceived mating opportunities or larger male intruders. Instead their aggression was related to their size.

"In particular, smaller males attacked sooner and with greater intensity compared to larger males, suggesting that nesting desert goby males used routine, rather than conditional, strategies for initiating aggression."

Dr Svensson said if intruders were more likely to flee than retaliate, small males could benefit from attacking intruders before they had an opportunity to assess them.

"The only hope for a small male may be that an intruder would then leave, without a fight," Dr Svensson said.

The overly aggressive males were dubbed 'the Napoleon complex' after the French general Napoleon Bonaparte who was thought to compensate his allegedly short stature with an aggressive personality.

The hardy desert goby can tolerate extreme conditions and can be found in water twice as salty as the ocean and survive huge fluctuations in temperature -- all important survival skills for a fish living in the desert.

The research was presented at the International Behavioural Ecology Congress in Sweden earlier this month.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Andreas Svensson, Topi K. Lehtonen, Bob B. M. Wong. A High Aggression Strategy for Smaller Males. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (8): e43121 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043121

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Small male fish use high aggression strategy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120901000614.htm>.
Monash University. (2012, September 1). Small male fish use high aggression strategy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120901000614.htm
Monash University. "Small male fish use high aggression strategy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120901000614.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Buzz60 (Oct. 31, 2014) For its nature series Life Story, the BBC profiled the barnacle goose, whose chicks must make a daredevil 400-foot cliff dive from their nests to find food. Jen Markham has the astonishing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
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