Female Trinidad guppies save males from starvation


This 3 September 2018 video says about itself:

This video gives an impression of the fieldwork we conduct to study guppy behavior in the rainforest of Trinidad. It also summarizes the main conclusions of our scientific paper in Nature Ecology and Evolution, which examines how being social helps guppies find food.

Reference to Paper: Snijders L, Kurvers RHJM, Krause S, Ramnarine IW, Krause J (2018). Individual- and population-level drivers of consistent foraging success across environments. Nature Ecology and Evolution.

From Forschungsverbund Berlin in Germany:

Male Trinidad guppies find food thanks to females

September 13, 2019

For male Trinidad Guppies applies: if you are hungry, seek female company. A recent study led by scientists of the the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) together with other research institutions provides evidence that male guppy fish in the presence of females more often ended up at novel food patches. In contrast, female food discovery was independent of male presence.

Trinidad guppies (Poecilia reticulata) live in small watercourses in the rainforests of Trinidad. They have a preference for sporadic high-quality food resources, like fruits and insects, falling into the water- so it is usually uncertain when and where they encounter food. In this study, behavioural ecologist Lysanne Snijders and her team set up a field experiment and manipulated guppy sex compositions (all male, all female or mixed) in the wild using individually colour-marked guppies. They conducted social observations, followed by foraging trials.

Males reached more food patches when there were females around. Yet, females reached a similar number of patches either with or without males present. Males also spent less time social in absence of females, but the absence of males had no effects for females. The researchers analysed if this time spent socially was linked to patch discovery success. Indeed, in agreement with a previous study, more social guppies ended up at more food patches.

“Life in the group can be advantageous. You have to share the food with your peers, but it is also easier to find it if you use the information of others,” explains Lysanne Snjiders. Guppies, for example, react to the typical behaviour of successful food finders, which is: swim faster, grab food, stay there and eat.

The researchers can only guess why males behave differently in the absence of females than in sexually mixed groups. “In this case, males among themselves are more likely to be in a state of competition than cooperation and therefore spend less time together and miss out on important information,” says Lysanne Snijders.

The head of the study, IGB-researcher Prof. Jens Krause, is investigating the dynamics of swarm behaviour and collective intelligence in animals. He explains the importance of this field of research: “If we are able to understand the interactions of animals within a group, we can derive from this knowledge information about the spread of diseases, reproduction and predator-prey relationships. The structure of social networks may also be a decisive factor concerning the stability of a population. Such knowledge may help wildlife managers and conservationists, for example, to optimise disease management, breeding programmes or reintroduction activities.”

Guppies, a perennial pet store favorite, have helped a UC Riverside scientist unlock a key question about evolution: Do animals evolve in response to the risk of being eaten, or to the environment that they create in the absence of predators? Turns out, it’s the latter: here.

Leadership during cooperation runs in the family for tiny fish called Trinidadian guppies, new research shows. University of Exeter researchers studied leadership in guppies by selectively breeding for fish that differed in how likely they were to lead a scouting party to examine a predator: here.

When it comes to finding a mate, male guppies rely on their brothers to ward off the competition. In a new study published by a Florida State University team, researchers found that male Trinidadian guppies observe a form of nepotism when it comes to pursuing the opposite sex. These tiny tropical fish often help their brothers in the mating process by darting in front of other males to block access to a female: here.

2 thoughts on “Female Trinidad guppies save males from starvation

  1. Pingback: Japanese rice fish, male or female? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: How guppies dodge predators | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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