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No evidence for conspecific recruitment for cooperative hunting in lionfish Pterois miles

Citation

Sarhan, Hanaa; Bshary, Redouan (2021), No evidence for conspecific recruitment for cooperative hunting in lionfish Pterois miles , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.w3r2280q8

Abstract

Lionfish are common piscivores in the Indo-Pacific and invasive in the Caribbean. A fin flaring pattern, involving a rapid undulation of the caudal fin and sequential turning of both pectoral fins, was described in zebra lionfish as a signal to initiate cooperative hunting, and it was hypothesized that such hunting tactics may also exist in other lionfish species and contribute to their successful invasion in the Caribbean. Here, we investigated one of those invasive species, Pterois miles, in its natural range in the Red Sea. We did not observe evidence for cooperative hunting in the field. We complemented field observations with a laboratory experiment aimed at inducing subjects to recruit partners for cooperative hunts, exposing subjects to inaccessible prey in a transparent housing as well as to a potential partner. We regularly observed the fin flaring pattern, but importantly it was not directed at the partner. Thus, rather than being a signal, the fin flaring movement pattern seems to be a swimming mode in a confined environment. Furthermore, the two lionfish did not aggregate at the prey housing, reinforcing the field results that this species in the Red sea does not depend on cooperation to hunt fish.

Funding

Swiss National Science foundation

Swiss Government