Monday, August 23, 2021

followers of fishes

I'm not a scuba-diving kind of person, but from my armchair studies of marine biology I recall seeing many photos of larger fish species apparently being followed by smaller ones. Never thought much about it, until I came across a publication referring to the followers of manta rays as hitchhikers. That sounded like an interesting feature topic, so I had a closer look and discovered all sorts of marvellous things I hadn't known. In addition to the obvious ecology implication, the social network of marine species if you will, there are also interesting bits of physics about the suckers allowing hitchhikers to hold onto fast moving transport vehicles.

All this in my latest feature which is out today (I love the title, even if I say so myself):

Friends, foes and followers of fishes

Current Biology Volume 31, Issue 16, 23 August 2021, Pages R973-R976

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(will become open access again one year after publication)

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Manta rays are often seen with other species attached to them or following them closely. The image shows a giant ocean manta ray with some passengers. (Photo: Simon Fraser University/Flickr (CC BY 2.0).)

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