Predatory trumpetfish conceal themselves from their prey by swimming alongside other fish

Samuel Matchette, Chrstian Drerup, Isla Keesje Davidson, Stephen D Simpson, Andrew N Radford, James Herbert-Read

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review


Many animals use camouflage to reduce their detectability by others, yet even the most inconspicuous objects become detectable against the background when moving. One way to reduce detection while moving would be to ‘hide’ behind the movements of objects or other animals. Here, we demonstrate experimentally that a common marine predator, the trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus), can conceal its approach from its prey by performing a behaviour known as ‘shadowing’—swimming closely next to another, larger and non-predatory fish. We therefore demonstrate how predators can actively use another animal as a form of concealment to reduce detection by their prey.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R801-R802
Number of pages2
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Whitten Programme in Tropical and Aquatic Biology, the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI-RG21-208), and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. S.M. was supported by the Office of Naval Research Global (N62909-21-1-2005). We would like to thank Simon Chen for 3D printing guidance, the Marine Behavioural Ecology Research Group for useful discussion, and four anonymous referees for their helpful comments. We would also like to thank Prof. Mark Vermeij (CARMABI, Curaçao) and the staff at B Diving (Playa Cas Abou, Curaçao) and The Dive Shop (Piscadera Bay, Curaçao) for their on-site support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


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