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The Matador in Your Fish Tank


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The Matador in Your Fish Tank

Guppies make unassuming pets, but in the wild they adopt a daring and counterintuitive tactic to avoid becoming dinner. When they spot a predator, they suddenly darken their eyes from silver to jet black—enticing the attacker to go straight for the guppy’s head. In a paper published in July in Current Biology, researchers report that…

The Matador in Your Fish Tank

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“This [study] opens a whole new area of research, and it might explain cases where eyes or eyespots are very conspicuous,” says Karin Kjernsmo, a behavioral and evolutionary ecologist at the University of Bristol in England, who was not involved in the study. “Maybe together with an evasive strategy, [these results] could explain why that is so.”

In an eat-or-be-eaten world, there is always more than meets the eye.

This article was originally published with the title “Matador Fish” in Scientific American 323, 3, 18 (September 2020)

doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0920-18a

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

Richard Sima

    Richard Sima is a freelance science writer who specializes in the life and environmental sciences. He

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