Revisiting cannibalism in fishes Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Cannibalism, the act of eating an individual of the same species, has long intrigued researchers. More than 30years after publication of reviews on the topic, there appears to be little consensus about the commonness of cannibalism and its ecological and evolutionary importance. Since Smith and Reay (Rev Fish Biol Fish 1:4164, 1991. doi:10.1007/BF00042661) reviewed cannibalism in teleost fish, many new studies have been published that address aspects of cannibalism and here we present an updated review. Reports of cannibalism have increased, especially since the 1990s, with many accounts from aquaculture research. Cannibalism has been recorded for 390 teleost species from 104 families, with 150 species accounts based only on captive fish. The number of literature reports of cannibalism is almost equal for marine and freshwater fishes; freshwater families with most reported cases are Percidae, Salmonidae and Esocidae, and marine families are Gobiidae, Gadidae and Merluciidae. Ecological and evolutionary implications of cannibalism are discussed along with perspectives for future research.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 9.45

author list (cited authors)

  • Pereira, L. S., Agostinho, A. A., & Winemiller, K. O.

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Pereira, Larissa Strictar||Agostinho, Angelo Antonio||Winemiller, Kirk O

publication date

  • February 2017