Tropical fish goes ‘angling’ for a mate
A TROPICAL fish uses the same tactics as human anglers to hook a mate, scientists have discovered.
The male swordtail characin has a sex ornament “lure” custom-made to appeal to hungry females.
Just as a fly fisherman uses a lure that mimics his quarry’s favourite food, so the male characin adapts to carry the right bait. The fish feed on ants, beetles, springtails and fly larvae which fall onto the water surface.
Scientists found characins that mainly eat ants also carry sex ornaments resembling ants.
“This is a natural example of a fishing lure designed to maximise the chance to catch a fish,” said study leader Dr Niclas Kolm of Uppsala University in Sweden.
“In this case, it is not just any fish, however – it is a fish of the opposite sex that the lure is designed to catch.”
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