Advantage of harmlessness in gaining preferential access to a heterospecific territory
Ochi H, Hata H, Hori M
JOURNAL OF FISH BIOLOGY
71 (2): 399-410 AUG 2007
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.