Human civilization would not have come to what it is now, if 15, 000 years ago, ancient man had not tamed the wolf. Now, researchers in Australia have found the first example of the domestication of one animal by another - a family of fish taming tiny shrimp to care for their algae farms.
Until now, besides humans, the only known organisms capable of taming other species have been insects. For example, ants breed aphids and protect them from predators in exchange for the sweet sticky secret they secrete. However, this behavior has never been observed in vertebrates before. On an expedition to coral reefs in Belize, a group of researchers from Griffith and Deakin Universities discovered that ray-finned fish of the pomacentra family had domesticated the mysid shrimp.
It is known that pomacentral fish grow algae for their food. Scientists have suggested that they also use mysid shrimp feces as fertilizer to promote crop growth. In turn, the shrimp get a safe haven - the fish protects pets from predators if they swim too close. Mizid is attracted by the smell of the host fish, while they remain indifferent to other species of fish, which are not peculiar to farming, as well as to the algae farm itself.
To test whether the fish would protect the shrimp, the mysid was placed in two transparent pouches, then left one inside and one outside the farm. Of course, other fish tried to eat the shrimp “outside”, while inside the farms any predators were driven away by the farmer fish. What are the benefits of shrimp for fish? The researchers found that the quality of the algae and the health of the fish are improved when their pets live nearby, compared to farms without them.