Is your cichlid right-handed or left-handed?

Ok, ok, cichlids don’t have hands. But if you take a hard look at the images above (the scale-eating, Perissodus microlepis, from Lake Tanganyika), you will see the mouth of one is positioned more to the left and the other is positioned more to the right. As one fish prefers to feed on the left-flank scales of other fish on the other on the right flank of other fish. The authors of the study Handed Foraging Behavior in Scale-Eating Cichlid Fish: Its Potential Role in Shaping Morphological Asymmetry, “investigated the strength of handedness of foraging behavior as well as its interaction with morphological mouth laterality in P. microlepis.” In a nutshell, their research found that it is “behavioral preference to attack a particular side of the prey plays a role in facilitating” whether a microlepis’ mouth is positioned to attack from the left or the right. The authors found this true in both wild and lab-raised individuals.

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