Do Guppies Check Out Their Enemies With Predator Inspection?
Yes, Guppies usually do a whole predator inspection and it is quite unusual for prey.
Predator inspection is a complex behavior, which is observed in a variety of shoaling fish species
For those of us who have the great pleasure of watching our guppies their bright colors, high energy levels, and docile nature never cease to amaze us.
While they can grow to various sizes by comparison people still consider them tiny fish.
They have their fair share of predators both in their domestic atmosphere plus in the wild.
One would think that it would be their nature to just dart away and hide when they sensed danger lurking.
This doesn’t seem to be the case, however, as some take on the role of predator inspection which is intriguing.
Scientists also find this quite fascinating and perform various studies on this predator inspection.
Predator inspection in fish
In terms of IPD, The Predator inspection is not only the most often back passageyzed phenomenon,
But also highly debated considering the shoaling fish predator inspection logic.
Sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus), a shoal of minnows (Phoxinus phoxinus), and guppies (Poecilia reticulata), usually separate from the shoal,
After that in spite of fleeing, they tentatively swim towards the predator until few cms away, wait near the predator for a few sec, and return back to the shoal.
What is predator inspection?
Some animals (Like Guppy Fish) are potential prey, But rather than fleeing from sight or hiding; They sometimes approach the predator in a counterintuitive way,
This unusual paradoxical behaviour is known as predator inspection by prey itself.
It is more like an exercise of checking out the potential enemy by the guppy is to gather information about the potential threat it poses.
This can prove to be useful but certainly doesn’t come without risks for the inspector.
It is virtually risking his life here but there is some evidence to show that the predator is not as likely to attack the inspector, but that doesn’t mean he won’t go after the other guppies in the vicinity.
The inspector does not go about his task with no thought of the dangers that may be lurking.
The guppy will approach the predator by staying away from the attack cone, which happens to be the area of the mouth of the predator.
The guppy will approach either from the back or the side.
Steps in Predator Inspection for guppies
- After detecting a predator guppies change their irises black to make their eyes conspicuous.
- Black-eyed guppies divert predator attacks to their heads, away from their bodies.
- When Predator lunge at their heads, Black-eyed guppies pivot around their center of mass to escape.
- Finally this diversion technique is substansilly increaes the survival of blackeyed guppies, particalyy for large females.
What happens during the predator inspection?
Scientists are intent on trying to determine exactly what is taking place during the predator inspection.
They are trying to determine if this is an act of boldness on the guppy’s part or is it an act of surveillance.
They are also making observations as to how the other guppies relate to the predator inspector.
Indicators of Predator Inspection?
There are some indicators that lead to the belief that the rest of the guppies prefer to hang out with a guppy that has taken on the role of a predator inspector.
Predator inspection is more prominent in the wild than in domestic situations but still, it is evident in controlled studies.
In the wild most often it is a group that will break off from the rest to act as predator inspectors.
Some will act differently during the inspection where some will get up closer to the predator than others.
Later observation discloses, that those who appeared to be the braver received more recognition from the school of guppies that hung back to watch this inspection.
This sort of experimentation is not likely something you want to conduct with your home aquarium.
You don’t want to put your much-loved guppies at risk by introducing a predator to your tank just so you can observe what happens.
It could mean that your most prized guppies might end would end up devouring.
You can follow the scientist’s observations though if this is a topic of interest to you
For Further Reading
- What to Do With Extra Guppies? (Unwanted Guppy Fry)
- What is the Difference Between Male and Female Guppies?
Predation is a biological term that interprets the action where one organism (The predator) kills and eats another organism (The prey).
This is seen in vertebrates, invertebrates, mammals, reptiles, and Amphibians.
As per the study of the University of Exeter, guppies use their lightning reflexes to make out of the wayand predators to miss.
Some fishes like sticklebacks, minnows, and guppies, often paradoxically approach their predators to find out if they are a hungry potential threat or not.
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