Parental state and offspring recognition in the biparental cichlid fish Pelvicachromis pulcher

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Abstract

Alloparental care was investigated in the biparental West African cichlid, Pelvicachromis pulcher. Non-breeding adults typically consumed young conspecifics but this trait was inhibited in both sexes during reproductive attempts. Alien conspecific young were accepted into the brood if they were of a similar age/developmental stage to the parents' own young but not if they were much older or much younger. If not accepted they were consumed by whichever adult located them. Parents separated from their brood for up to 4 days accepted their young on reunion but separation for more than 4 days resulted in the young being consumed. This latter response occurred if chemical stimuli from the young were available during the separation but not if visual stimuli were available. In this latter case parental responsiveness was maintained. Both sexes of this externally fertilizing species appeared to have the same information about their young and showed the same changes in responsiveness and the same discriminatory abilities. (C) 1997 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-809
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume54
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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