MSU Electric Fish Lab

Pollimyrus isidori are great fathers

We’ve been trying to breed Pollimyrus isidori in the lab for the last couple of months, which are well reputed good parents .  Withstanding some pH problems that we have been having over the past months, we’ve finally witnessed the fruits of our labor.  As of another big clutch of eggs this morning, we have more than 200 individuals!

To my surprise, the 50 or so individual fry we found yesterday afternoon all seemed to be hanging out near their dad– certainly not a random distribution.  Watching dad for a few minutes revealed a very interesting behavior– whenever a fry (which at this early stage are quite pathetic swimmers) managed to get away from the nest, Dad would come by and scoop him it up in his mouth.  Initially, I thought that he was eating the eggs, but then I witnessed that after a minute or so, he would swim back to his nest and spit it back out!  Armed with my iPhone, I got some video of the pickup behavior.  Most of the time, he put the eggs where I couldn’t video record, so the video represents the pickup of one egg and the dropoff of another:

This morning, Monica and I found many more fresh eggs– we took them up to count, and then returned a portion to the tank in a petri dish to see what the father would do– about 50 all told.  We left the lights off for about 2 hours, and when I came back, all of the eggs were tucked safely back in the nest!  Truly impressive behavior!

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