Abandoned female fish raise offspring as single moms

Washington, Sept 21 (ANI): A new research shows that female cichlid fish look after their young and raise them alone if abandoned by males.

Dr Topi Lehtonen from the University of Turku in Finland, Dr Bob Wong and Dr Andreas Svensson from Monash University and Professor Axel Myer from Konstanz University in Germany, found that mate desertion was more common among the larger cichlid species inhabiting the lakes and desertion was also more likely to take place later in the breeding season.

Although reasons for this behaviour are unclear, Wong believes that the costs and benefits of extended care and the availability of additional mating opportunities could be one motivation.

Sadly, this desertion severely compromised the quality of care that females were able to provide to their young, particularly in defending their babies against formidable fish predators, such as the bigmouth sleeper fish.

"The findings provide important insights into animal mating systems, the evolution of parental care and the costs and benefits of caring for offspring," Wong said.

The research is published in the journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology. (ANI)

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