Female Fish Abandoned by Males to Raise Offspring on Their Own

Posted by Ana Browning:   Cichlid fish look after their young by defending them against predators. While the males and females share parenting it’s not always that way. Two biologists from Monash University published the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology showing in their research that male Cichlid fish have a tendency to desert their mates, leaving them to look after the young as a single parent. Dr Topi Lehtonen from the University of Turku in Finland spent many hours underwater observing the parental behaviors of different Cichlid fishes. He and his team found out that the mate desertion was more common among the larger Cichlid species inhabiting lakes and desertion. Another Dr. said the exact reason the male Cichlid fish would abandon their mates and their offspring are not entirely clear, but the motivation is likely linked to the cost and benefits of extended care and the availability of additional mating opportunities. Having the male Cichlid leave the female makes it more difficult for the mother to protect the baby from being eaten.

3 thoughts on “Female Fish Abandoned by Males to Raise Offspring on Their Own”

  1. Looks like the ‘deadbeat dad’ label can be applied to other species as well! I just love cichlids – their mating systems are fascinating and so variable!! Great article!

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