SYDNEY- Scientists have discovered an interesting fact that the fish when caught warn the others to escape the danger. They give off a cry for help to their companions but in this way they also catch the attention of predators as well.
While researchers had discovered that fish emit a chemical substance found in their skin when injured to alert others nearby of the dangers, they did not know whether the distress call also benefited the captured prey.
“Within a minute (of the chemical alarm being emitted), you get this aggregation of little predators coming in,” the study´s co-author Mark McCormick of James Cook University says, adding that most fish displayed similar behavior.
“For them, it´s like somebody ringing a dinner bell. So other predators swoop in and start chasing the predator that first caught the little prey fish and in doing so, disrupt the initial predator.
“The initial predator ends up 40 percent of the time, we found, dropping the prey and the prey swims off and survives.”
The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, studied damselfish — a small, primarily tropical marine species — that have similar characteristics to larger, more commercially important fish such as coral trout and snapper.
“You can see how that (call for help) would have developed and how, because of the benefit of attracting other predators, that alarm-cue signaling would be maintained in the population of prey because it´s so advantageous,” McCormick says.