Cochlid Fish

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Category: Science and Technology

Date Submitted: 11/14/2012 10:53 AM

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Specie Names

Convict Cichlids

Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum

-Archocentrus nirofasciatum


Lepomis macrochirus

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We were interested in observing the foraging behaviour of convert cichlids (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum) and to see how they adjust to the presence of a predator fish, in this case a bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus). We hypothesized that the convict cichlids would take a longer time to leave cover, and a longer time to take any food available to them, when there was a predator in the vicinity. The experiment was completed in a lab with a divider between the two species of fish and food being dropped in with a predator present and then without one present. The experiment did result in the convict cichlids taking longer to leave cover and taking food. We concluded that these foraging fish are more cautious when going to get their food in the presence of a predator.


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Foraging fish must be careful when looking for food as predators could be lurking around the corner. Individuals must trade-off the risk of predation against the benefits of foraging (Lima & Dill 1990). These individuals often travel in schools, but when they are looking for food they have to leave the protection of their group and go out and get food. This could involve them leaving the cover of a plant to obtain the food. However, there is also the possibility of a predator observing this fish, the prey, leaving the cover to get the food. We observed how long it took for the convict cichlids (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum) to leave the cover of a plant in the tank to go and take the food.

There are a variety of behaviours that predators can display towards prey. In our experiment, we observed the behaviour of the predator towards the...