Wednesday June 8, 2022


Fish like guppies and mosquitofish, known to be cannibalistic in captivity, are extremely unlikely to turn to cannibalism in wild settings, a new study shows.

In these fish, the rare cases of cannibalism are likely due to a strong competition for food, the researchers report.

The findings could have implications not only for fish enthusiasts and scientists who use mosquitofish as models for ecological and evolutionary studies, but could also help explain the causes and frequency of cannibalism in other animals.

Cannibalism, preying on and eating other individuals of your own species, is a peculiar behavior, featuring prominently in human mythology and fiction. But how common is it in nature, and why would organisms resort to such an extreme course of action just to get a meal?

Researchers decided to find out by looking at over a decade’s worth of data gained from almost 12,000 fish across 17 species in the wild.

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