Schooling predator bluefin trevally size up schooling anchovies. Photo/Wikipedia.

ABC Science: Size really does matter when you are a fish looking for a shoal-mate.

And according to a new study “smell” plays a critical role in helping fish hunt for mates of a matching size.

Associate Professor Ashley Ward, of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, says it is common for animals to group as a form of protection from predation. Grouping with animals of a similar size adds another layer of protection through what is known as the “confusion effect”, says Ward.

“When animals are matched in size the predator finds it difficult to pick the odd one out and therefore can’t target a victim,” he says.

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ABC Sience


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