Humans are the best at taming animals. Numerous animals, starting with dogs and ending with horses, helped mankind in agrarian activities.
The list of animals that humans have tamed is quite extensive. Moreover, we often use insects to our advantage. However, it seems that one fish uses shrimp for the same purposes as humans use different animals. In particular, to simplify farming activities.
Scientists say that Stegastes Diencaeus is probably the only vertebrate animal other than humans to have “domesticated” another animal. This fish lives mainly in the waters of Central America and is cultivated by algae.
The fish is quite territorial and tries to expel any other animal from its algae farm except the shrimp, which is also nicknamed the opossum shrimp. They seem to be feeding the fish “farm”.
“Opossum shrimp enjoy the patronage of fish and fertilize its algae, which promotes plant growth,” says ecologist Rohan Brucker.
The idea is that these fish and shrimp once formed a commensal relationship where they supported each other so as not to harm each other. However, later their relationship became more specialized and now the “domesticated” shrimp, the farmer can not live without fish.
Wolves had a similar relationship with humans in their time. They probably came to early human settlements and ate the waste until they slowly became our companions and then transformed into dogs by artificial selection.
Stegastes Diencaeus do not need shrimp to survive, although shrimp really do need fish.
The study was published in Nature Communications.