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Science & Technology

A mouthful

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Oct 31, 1996 | From the print edition

It is known that female catfishes attach their mouths to the anal region of the males during spawning. The significance of this bizarre trait has been discovered by some Japanese scientists from the laboratory of Animal Sociology at the Osaka City University. They have found that the sperm on being consumed pass through the female's intestine and are released along with her eggs into a temporary pouch formed by the bending of her pelvic fins.

The ability of bringing sperm and eggs together in a small enclosed area, thus protecting them from the turbulence of the sea and the unusually short alimentary canal appears to have made this unique form of reproductive behaviour possible.

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