A complex mode of aggressive mimicry in a scale-eating cichlid fish
JournalArticle (Originalarbeit in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift)
ID 3380046
Author(s) Boileau, Nicolas; Cortesi, Fabio; Egger, Bernd; Muschick, Moritz; Indermaur, Adrian; Theis, Anya; Büscher, Heinz H.; Salzburger, Walter
Author(s) at UniBasel Salzburger, Walter
Year 2015
Title A complex mode of aggressive mimicry in a scale-eating cichlid fish
Journal Biology letters
Volume 11
Number 9
Pages / Article-Number 20150521

Aggressive mimicry is an adaptive tactic of parasitic or predatory species that closely resemble inoffensive models in order to increase fitness via predatory gains. Although similarity of distantly related species is often intuitively implicated with mimicry, the exact mechanisms and evolutionary causes remain elusive in many cases. Here, we report a complex aggressive mimicry strategy in Plecodus straeleni, a scale-eating cichlid fish from Lake Tanganyika, which imitates two other cichlid species. Employing targeted sequencing on ingested scales, we show that P. straeleni does not preferentially parasitize its models but—contrary to prevailing assumptions—targets a variety of co-occurring dissimilar looking fish species. Combined with tests for visual resemblance and visual modelling from a prey perspective, our results suggest that complex interactions among different cichlid species are involved in this mimicry system.

Publisher The Royal Society
ISSN/ISBN 1744-957X
edoc-URL http://edoc.unibas.ch/40764/
Full Text on edoc No
Digital Object Identifier DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0521
PubMed ID http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26399975
ISI-Number WOS:000364772300010
Document type (ISI) Article

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