Safety in numbers wins out over an increased chance of sex when it comes to a native African fish, a new study finds. The results, recently published in the journal Biology Letters, suggest a species of cichlid fish employs a complex decision-making process when joining a social group. Lead author University of New South Wales biologist Alex Jordan says the strategy employed by the fish is likely to be replicated in other group-joining species.
The authors released some sociable Tanganyikan cichlids – Neolamprologus pulcher and let them choose between two groups. A large group gives better protection against predators but more competition when finding a mate. A small group makes finding a mate easier but means the fish had a greater chance of being eaten by predators. They found that the larger group was a more popular choice. From this they concluded that the fish prioritise survival over sex.
Read more here – CBC News