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First lets keep the alcohol references to a minimum as there are kids that view this forum on a regular basis.
Second hormone chemistry is definitely not my area of expertise, but what you are saying makes sense dgreany. It doesn't seem advantageous for a fish to emit a growth inhibitor to control another fish. I have seen stunting of fish by other fish but it is noticeably because of aggression and stress.
I have not had the pleasure of running into the growth hormone thing you are talking about, however, food for thought for #2 would be that big fish just LOVE to eat little fish. So expending a little extra energy to keep the food chain nice and fat would definitely be evolutionarily advantageous. Off to do some research...
2. What the heck is an evolutionary advantage of a fish spending energy trying to limit the growth of another species in a natural environment? Before fish lived in tanks, limiting the growth of another species would only be justified (because again see arguement 1, it's likely expensive) in an environment where a needed resource was direly limited. Think of the capacity of Tanganika. Is the lake really at a capacity where the fish are resorting to hormonal warfare? And it cant be a new thing we witness in aquariums. Development of endocrine warfare systems takes a few more years than there has been aquariums.
The Greater Chicago Cichlid Association — GCCA — is a not-for-profit, educational organization, chartered in the state of Illinois, dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of information relating to the biology of the fishes in the family Cichlidae, with particular emphasis on maintenance and breeding in captivity. We are simply cichlid hobbyists who love cichlids.