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The Matador in Your Fish Tank


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)



Richard Sima

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

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