From: Case Western Reserve University
Published February 8, 2017 01:14 PM

Case Western Reserve University researcher discovers fish uses sneaking behavior as stealth mating strategy

Humans aren’t the only species that resort to a little subterfuge

While a dominant male fish from northern Mexico mates with a female, a small fella bides his time in the offing. Suddenly, the little guy darts in ahead of Mr. Big and plants his seeds on freshly laid eggs.

The behavior, which biologists aptly call sneaking, is rare—known to occur among only a few dozen of about 34,000 fish species worldwide. A Case Western Reserve University researcher reports that the Cuatro Ciénegas cichlid, a rare fish by the scientific name of Herichthys minckleyi, uses this alternative stealth mating strategy.

Ron Oldfield, a senior biology instructor at Case Western Reserve, videoed the underdog’s effort to pass on his DNA in a 300-gallon aquarium.

The video recordings are among the first of sneaking behavior published for any species of animal. Oldfield and collaborators published a description of the behavior in the journal Hydrobiologia and then last month the three videos in this release, along with further recordings, images and a research paper describing mating and parental care by the species, were published on Case Western Reserve’s permanent electronic archive, DigitalCase, at http://hdl.handle.net/2186/ksl:HminckBehavior. DigitalCase is an initiative by the university to make information available to the public for free in an electronic format.

Read more at Case Western Reserve University

Photo credit: Ronald Oldfield

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