The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver

Cannibalism, the eating of conspecifics, has a rational background in the animal kingdom. It may serve as a source of energy-rich nutrition or to increase reproductive success. Some species do not even spare their own brood. Researchers from the Vetmeduni Vienna have now been able to show the trigger of this peculiarity in African cichlids. When their eggs were taken away for a prolonged period, the females of a cichlid fish species ate both their own eggs and foreign eggs. They quickly switched between parental duties and ensuring their own energy supply. The study was published in Animal Behavior. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)