Archive for November, 2011

How fish choose their mates

Guppies - from wikipedia

When male guppies choose females to mate with, it seems they can be quite choosy.

Males decide how much effort they put into courtship and which females to court based on how many others they have recently encountered and how attractive they were, according to a new study into the mating tactics of tropical fish.

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Some species of cichlid form groups with younger fish looking after babies. Often these fish are unrelated to the larger , more dominant fish.

Cooperative breeding of this kind has puzzled evolutionary biologists for a long time as it is costly and often does not generate obvious fitness benefits to subordinates. In the case of Neolamprologus. pulcher, the main benefit for subordinates to stay in a territory of dominant breeders seems to be the protection gained against predators provided by the large group members.

This study shows a direct relationship between the relatedness of these helper fish to the offspring and the amount of care they provide.

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With some species of cichlid fish the male takes eggs into his mouth and nurtures both them and the developing young. Up until now it’s not been certain if he was the genetic parent of the young or had been fooled into looking after them by the female.

The study, led by a research team at Kyoto University‘s Graduate School of Science, has found a solution to the mystery of whether mouthbrooding females transfer their young to any male fish in their school or specifically to their mating partners, by proving that the male fish the females shift the young to are indeed the genetic fathers of the young.

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Balitorid family & Botiid family

Mark J Duffill

Loaches by Mark J Duffill

Well-known enthusiast Mark Duffill has produced two colourful and informative books about his passion – loaches. There is renewed interest in this somewhat neglected group of fishes as more species of loaches, and Asian fish in general, appear in the trade. One book is devoted to the Balitorid family (the river loaches) and the other to the Botiid family (true loaches).

Both books are slim – running to 24 and 36 pages respectively. They are however jam-packed with information on loach biology and husbandry and both books are profusely illustrated with colour photographs. The decision to publish in paperback rather than hard cover has kept the costs down and both can be had for a combined price of just £16.

If loaches are your thing, or you just want to find out more about these lovely fish, then I heartily recommend these books.

Available from The International Loach Association website.

4 stars.

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