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A complex mode of aggressive mimicry in a scale-eating cichlid fish

Boileau, Nicolas and Cortesi, Fabio and Egger, Bernd and Muschick, Moritz and Indermaur, Adrian and Theis, Anya and Büscher, Heinz H. and Salzburger, Walter. (2015) A complex mode of aggressive mimicry in a scale-eating cichlid fish. Biology letters, 11 (9). p. 20150521.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/40764/

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Abstract

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.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Zoologie > Evolutionary Biology (Salzburger)
UniBasel Contributors:Salzburger, Walter
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:1744-957X
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:09 Aug 2016 08:48
Deposited On:09 Aug 2016 08:48

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