NOTES

A different kind of cannibal

Biologists from NTNU and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research […]

Biologists from NTNU and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research found cannibals when they went on an expedition to Bear Island, north of northern Norway, in late June. Fortunately, these cannibals were not man-eaters. The researchers’ goal was to study arctic char, a freshwater fish. While char on the mainland can feast on an unlimited quantity of insects, arctic char on Bear Island must make do with a more limited diet. They simply eat their fellow fish. In return, they may
be unusually large, and thus attractive to anglers.

Cannibalism also leads to a great likelihood of the cannibal being smitten by parasites. Widespread cannibalism and over-fishing now threaten the arctic char population. Anders Finstad (in photo) and other biologists are following these developments, with the hopes of being able sound to the alarm to protect the fish in time.