Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Log in
Sections
You are here: Home Blog Very cool! Rabbitfish may be the first fish observed exhibiting "watchdog" behavior

Very cool! Rabbitfish may be the first fish observed exhibiting "watchdog" behavior

By Leonard Ho - Posted Dec 05, 2013 11:00 AM
Some birds and mammals will serve as lookouts for others in the group. Think: prairie dogs and meerkats. While one member of the group carries on daily activity such as foraging or nesting, another member serves as a sentinel against predators. Recently, this behavior has been documented for the first time in fish, and it so happens to be reef rabbitfish.
Very cool!  Rabbitfish may be the first fish observed exhibiting "watchdog" behavior

Pairs of three different species of rabbitfish all watch their companion's backs.

Take a look at the photos above from the Great Barrier ReefSiganus vulpinus, S. corallinus and S. puellus pairs are cruising the reef grazing algae.  While one eats, the other appears to "adopt a posture of vigilance."  In other words, one rabbitfish is looking out for his/her companion.  This is the first time this behavior - once believed reserved for higher ordered animals - has been documented in fish.

For anyone with pairs of con-specific grazing fish like tangs, rabbitfish, angels, or butterflies, have you observed this type of phenomenon in your aquarium?  It would not surprise us if this behavior occurs with regularity in our aquariums but goes unnoticed.


Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com.

Document Actions
Filed under:
blog comments powered by Disqus

blog_sm.jpg

Contribute to our blogs!


Do you have news or discussion topics you want to see blogged?  Let us know!

 

ADVANCED AQUARIST