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Advantage of harmlessness in gaining preferential access to a heterospecific territory

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Underwater observations conducted in the shallow waters of the southern part of Lake Tanganyika showed that a zoobenthos-eating cichlid Neolamprologus mustax preferentially foraged in the permanent territory of an algivorous cichlid Neolamprologus moorii, even though other zoobenthos-eaters were chased out. Benthic invertebrates were much richer within the territory of N. moorii than outside, suggesting that the territory was an attractive feeding ground for zoobenthos-eaters. Stomach contents analysis showed that N. mustax rarely ate fish broods, although other zoobenthos-eaters often did so. It is concluded that the differential tolerance of N. moorii towards zoobenthos-eaters based on their harmfulness to broods benefits harmless N. mustax by allowing its use of the prey-rich territory.

Keywords: Lake Tanganyika; algivore; by-product benefit; cichlids; territoriality; zoobenthos-eaters

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-Oiwake, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

Publication date: August 1, 2007


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