The Mirror Trick Might Not Work All That Well (because Fish Aren’t Stupid, Maybe Vain)

Posted by on October 28, 2014 - zero

By Leonard Ho

Click through to see the images.

Scientists regularly use mirrors in fish behavior studies in order to understand how fish might behave against rivals. Aquarists have also been known to place mirrors by their fish tanks trying to distract the attention of an aggressive fish who is bullying another (often times newly-introduced) fish.

But the mirror trick might not work as well as we’d like to think according to a new study published in the scientific journal Animal Behaviour.

Fish aren’t that superficial … or maybe they are

More and more studies have shown that fish are smarter and more complex than many people, including scientists, give them credit for.

The researchers found that a mirror image is not sufficient to elicit a natural aggressive response because fish (at least the convict cichilds they studied) are not merely lashing out at anything that looks like them. A fish’s aggression is also significantly based on the behavior and reaction of the other fish in context of complex social hierarchy, and mirror images simply do not react like real rivals would. Initially, a fish might “attack” its mirror image thinking it’s a rival, but when the mirror image “responds” in an unexpectly …read more

Read more here: Advanced Aquarist



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