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Tiny fish make 'eyes' at their killer
Date:8/19/2013

oral reef with lots of predators, they found that juvenile damsel fish with enlarged eye spots had an amazing five times the survival rate of fish with a normal-sized spot.

"This was dramatic proof that eyespots work and give young fish a hugely increased chance of not being eaten.

"We think the eyespots not only cause the predator to attack the wrong end of the fish, enabling it to escape by accelerating in the opposite direction, but also reduce the risk of fatal injury to the head," she explains.

The team also noted that when placed in proximity to a predator the young damsel fish also adopted other protective behaviours and features, including reducing activity levels, taking refuge more often and developing a chunkier body shape less easy for a predator to swallow.

"It all goes to show that even a very young, tiny fish a few millimetres long have evolved quite a range of clever strategies for survival which they can deploy when a threatening situation demands," Ms Lonnstedt says.


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Contact: Oona Lonnstedt
oona.lonnstedt1@jcu.edu.au
64-670-021-8346
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Source:Eurekalert

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