Thursday, 6 September 2012

Small Male Fish Use High Aggression Strategy

ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2012) — 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.

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.


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