Re: NANFA-- "just minnows"
Sat, 12 Aug 2000 22:24:47 EDT

In a message dated 8/12/00 4:50:19 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< I think the subject of nest-building minnows is fascinating, too!
Especially the relationships between the nest builders and the freeloaders
whose spawning corresponds with that of the nest builders. This isn't a
slight towards the freeloaders-- nature is a wonderful menagerie of
relationships and behaviors, and I think we humans are very far from
understanding the complex interrelationships of the aquatic world and the
long-term ecosyetem effects of our arrogant puny human actions. >>

Considering the fact that smaller minnow species' offspring take some of the
pressure of predation off from the chubs' offspring, it seems as if they do
pay somewhat of a price for their use of the chub mounds. It's definitely
worth it for the minnows too, so both species benefit. I was rather surprised
to find that the chubs had to fight so hard to defend the nests against other
nearby chubs when spawning; competition is very intense! On the other hand,
they benefit from the close proximity of other males to the nest when larger
egg-eaters like suckers try to raid the nests and the male chubs all join
forces in driving the sucker away, so it's also helpful to have other males
around obviously. I wonder how they deal with crayfish raiding the nest; I
think that crayfish tend to prowl around at night more. As far as I know
chubs aren't nocturnal.
I agree with your assessment with how little we understand the way all of
the aquatic creatures interact with each other. The information available is
astounding insofar as how intellligently reasoned-out many of these creatures
spawning strategies seem, and hints toward more as of yet undiscovered
behaviours in aquatic fauna. Perhaps some of the NANFA members who regularly
snorkle and scuba-dive will be the first to observe some of these behaviours
in the wild.

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