Fish identify their rellies
SCIENTISTS have discovered two species of reef fish which can recognise their relatives by smell.
Doctor Jen Atherton and Professor Mark McCormick from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University found young damselfish could identify odours of their closely related kin while they were still embryos.
“They start to panic when they pick up the scent of an injured relative,” Dr Atherton said.
“The most amazing thing is, not only can the baby damselfish identify cues from other sibling fish with the same parents, they can differentiate between the fish of different parents, and also different species altogether.”
The study involved the embryos of two species of common coral reef damselfish, the cinnamon clownfish, and the spiny chromis.
The skill could help the fish avoid predators by choosing safe habitats.