African killifish becomes fastest maturing vertebrate on record — ScienceDaily


Annual killifish are known to live their lives at one of two speeds: “pause” or “fast-forward.” For most of the year, the tiny freshwater fish persist as diapausing embryos buried in sediments across the African savannah, much like plant seeds. When rainwater fills small depressions across the landscape, the fish must hatch, grow, mature, and produce the next generation before the pool dries up.

Now, researchers reporting on August 6 in Current Biology have found that these small fish in the wild persist by condensing their life cycle even more than expected based on studies in the lab. The new studies show that, after hatching from a tiny egg just one millimeter in size, the fish grow to their full body size (four or five centimeters) and begin reproducing in just two weeks. The researchers…

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