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How intelligent are fish?

DutchMuch

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I would also question the statement that fish left to natural selection have less chance than fish caught for the aquarium trade...Although, the most dangerous enemy to fish are humans, one way or another, through pollution, destroyed habitats, consumption, etc..So in certain cases there is some merit at saying they'll survive longer in the aquarium trade.
agree 100% on this one boys.
I broke some fish's jaw trying to take the hook out
i think this is a life lesson type thing, which is a good topic to discuss in all honesty.

I remember when i was younger, i had JUST started fishing, and was always nervous to catch something because... then what?
Anyway i caught a little blue gill one day and the hook WOULD NOT come out, so i eventually got it but it tore the fish's left cheek open a bit (i was like 12-3 at the time) and i felt really bad. This eventually encouraged me to practice more, and ask people on how to properly remove a hook, i ended up learning several different Non fail methods of removing hooks (including treble hooks which i use frequently but use a wax to dull the back ones of each lure) that i used in the future to fish. This was all before i was in the hobby, so assuming i decided when i originally hooked that first fish, to just not improve myself, then i wouldn't be here today able to support the wildlife thats around now.
Whenever i see pictures of people holding a bass (example) and only holding its lower jaw, i basically want to slap them, because that can easily break there jaw (without you knowing) and you just release them to die. Unfortunately people really dont learn from this without people telling them to support the fish's back end, which in all honestly should be common sense.


Edit: now that i re-read this it sounds like the butterfly effect haha
 
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Mick.Dk

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Please do me (and others here, having to read this) the favour of checking, what I ACTUALLY commented, instead of immediately jump to some conclusion that I attack your freedom to think in other ways..... .
1/ I answered a specific question (actually quoting it to make this clear) ! This deliberately had nothing to do with your thinking. Since you seem to want to be allowed your thinking, I think it would suit you to allow me to have mine, founded in scientifically accepted scientists, too.
2/ I shortly and precisely corrected a part of your statement, not correct (again quoting, to avoid misinterpretation. I obviously did not succeed ) !
- and yes, I actually DO express myself in short, precise messages, having considered exactly what to engage in, and - more important - what not!!
I will not accept being forced into this kind of controversial discussions, so I expect we can agree to leave it at this.......
You can believe me or not - but this is really still written with all respect for your freedom of thoughts.
 
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You know, a friend of mine kid's asked my once why do I like fish, they seem so boring just swimming around....They are animal lovers and they own a dog which they adore. At their age I had already kept fish as pets and found them fascinating without having anyone around me that had this kind of interest in fish.

The other day of friend of mine was telling me the story of her brother bringing his dog all the way from Australia, quarantine, etc..only for the neighbor to drive over it with his car. She was laughing when she was telling the story. I was cringing and didn't want to hear it. She owns two dogs herself, so also an animal lover but not quite.

When I was a kid I found a newly born kitten, freshly thrown in the bin. It could not see, it could not drink milk, etc...My mom was later telling that she only let me keep it because she thought the kitten would die anyway, I tried all possible ways to feed it until I found out it would suck up on boiled potatoes. So for the first few weeks, that's what it ate, boiled potatoes on which it would suck with the only motion of its mouth it knew at that young age. We had that cat for many years, it was the smartest I've ever had or seen since.

My animal stories continued throughout my childhood and adulthood. I saved a bird I found once on which someone had cut its wings for fun.Last year I picked up a baby mouse I found lost on the foot path and brought it over to the field. A few years ago I saved another baby kitten which I gave away.Yesterday I picked up a worth worm that had lost its way on the asphalt road and threw it back in the grass.

I don't think worth worms have brains but it is us humans that pretend to be smart, so we have duty of care for every creature. And I understand we're not all the same as human beings. Some people have an excessive love for animals which others do not easily understand. But I do understand that we sometimes can't help who we are and can be all different, in many aspects and all the same in others.
 

zozo

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What ever the cause.. It's an intelligents stored somewhere.. :thumbup:
 

DutchMuch

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I saved a bird I found once on which someone had cut its wings for fun.
i think you mean
"for the satanic ritual the person(s) later attended"

anyone who finds that FUN might as well be completely evil imo
 

Onoma1

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I am sorry that I introduced a topic into the forum which has caused such controversy and strong feelings. I read an article in the Guardian and thought that it may be of interest to forum members and that (as in the past) people would point me to some of the scientific evidence, have an informed discussion and that I could piggy back on the knowledge of others. Rather naively, I didn’t think of the emotional power of this question and the deeply held views that people on the forum hold. To those posters to or readers of the thread that have been upset by the topic: please accept my apologies.

I think, however, that this is an important topic. First of all, I must add a caveat, this isn’t an issue that I have thought about much, I am an occasional fly fisherman, when I was younger enjoyed course fishing (both of these are/were more for the environment than for catching fish which is/was a rare occurrence). I also eat fish.

The debate on the thread took me back to the research literature. I must add in another caveat here, this is not my area of specialism and I am acutely aware of the difficulties associated with literature reviews undertaken by non-specialists! I am not an Ichthyologist and understand that some people on the forum are.

The conclusions that I drew:

1. There is a relative paucity of literature or research evidence. Using Scopus I found 9 articles from 2008-19 on “Fish Intelligence” and 35 on “Fish Cognition”. It was also notable that there was a relative lack of citation and co-citation (many articles had been cited only a handful of times and a key review had only been cited 57 times). This suggests (to a non-specialist) a limited cumulative development of knowledge in this area. Much of the literature that I found related to fish intelligence in the context of catching fish (c.f., Xue, Liu, Zhang and Minami 2008). I can only speculate on the reason for this, however, this may be because this in part because funding for this type of research may be difficult to acquire or that much of the funding may come from interests related to the fishing industry.

2. Some evidence suggests fish have individual differences or “personality”: “Fish also showed evidence of personality, with significant and repeatable individual differences in foraging, chasing, and habitat use.” (Church and Grant 2019)

3. A recent review of literature in this area indicated that fish have the level of perception and cognitive abilities on the match of other vertebrates (Brown 2015). “Recent reviews of fish cognition suggest fish show a rich array of sophisticated behaviours. For example, they have excellent long-term memories, develop complex traditions, show signs of Machiavellian intelligence, cooperate with and recognise one another and are even capable of tool use)” (Brown 2105). I looked at some of the more recent work and picked up an which looked a spatial capability and learning using experimental work using guppies, Poecilia reticulata which indicated that they could solve complex mazes on the same level as primates and rodents (Lucon-Xiccato, Bisazza 2017). Although female guppies performed better at this than males. The authors of this piece noted “…growing evidence that bony fish possess cognitive abilities previously thought exclusive to mammals” (Lucon-Xiccato, Bisazza 2017).

4. Fish feel pain “A review of the evidence for pain perception strongly suggests that fish experience pain in a manner similar to the rest of the vertebrates”. (Brown 2015)

5. “Cognitive flexibility is one emergent area of research. While only a few species have been studied, it seems fish are capable of inhibiting previously learned behaviours, of reversal learning and display innovative behaviours and problem solving in new situations”. (Vila Pouca and Brown 2017)

6. Play: “Since the observation of fishes’ natural behaviour is rare compared to other vertebrates… Because of the diversity and sophistication of behaviours and cognitive abilities of fishes, it seems only reasonable to assume play behaviour also occurs in fish and thus should be further investigated. (Vila Pouca and Brown 2017) They noted a paper which pointed to play behaviour in cichlids.

7. “Complex social behaviours in fish have been widely acknowledged and reviewed and include social learning and traditions, individual recognition, cooperation and shared intentionality, dominance hierarchies, social status and transitive inference” (Vila Pouca and Brown 2017).

My conclusion is that the scientific knowledge in this area seems limited and emergent, however, strongly points for fish intelligence on the same basis and vertebrates and therefore similar moral and ethical issues related to how we treat them.

I agree with Tim:
This is an interesting overview on fish intelligence, for those who haven't already seen it.

I think different species of fish undoubtedly exhibit behaviours that could be interpreted as intelligence. But sometimes it is difficult to determine the difference between behaviour which is innate, genetically hardwired through natural selection, and that which is learned or developed through experience.

I also think that we all have an innate psychological tendency toward anthropomorphism, and attribute human traits, emotions or intentions to none human entities. It's something that has been prevalent throughout human history, and is deeply ingrained in human culture throughout the world.

However, both points could work in relation to any non-human animal.

I think there is an opportunity and perhaps a moral and ethical need for further research.

One impediment to further research seems to be the difficulty in observing fish behaviour. Brown (2015) noted that most people’s contact with fish is when it’s served them on a plate and that “fish seldom have the opportunity to express their natural behavioural patterns in captivity.” I think, however, that this community strive to create natural environments in which fish can express their natural behavioural patterns in captivity, perhaps most clearly exemplified in the creation of biotopes. In short we spend months creating naturalistic environments and then months watching fish interact with each other and the environment. Equally, many of the fish that have been studied are fish that we keep (e.g guppies and cichlids) and many of the other fish that we keep haven't been studied. We, therefore, have our own slices of nature or ‘laboratories’ (depending on your view) in which we can observe, test hypothesis, reflect upon and report findings. While Ichthyologists like Tai Strietman undertake pioneering work in the field, can we make a minor contribution from our armchairs? Could places like the UKAPS site become laboratories in our living rooms to conduct some citizen science? This may be already occurring in which case please forgive me for my ignorance, however, we “feel more comfortable imagining science as the exclusive preserve of lab-coated professors in well lit, publicly funded laboratories, surrounded by gleaming, expensive apparatus. In truth, though, the history of science is rooted in research carried out by independent devotees, driven by resourcefulness, passion and curiosity.” https://www.theguardian.com/science...cience-how-internet-changing-amateur-research


References

Brown, C., 2015. Fish intelligence, sentience and ethics. Animal cognition, 18(1), pp.1-17.

Church, K.D. and Grant, J.W., 2019. Ideal despotic distributions in convict cichlids (Amatitlania nigrofasciata)? Effects of predation risk and personality on habitat preference. Behavioural processes, 158, pp.163-171.

Lucon-Xiccato, T. and Bisazza, A., 2017. Complex maze learning by fish. Animal Behaviour, 125, pp.69-75.

Vila Pouca, C. and Brown, C., 2017. Contemporary topics in fish cognition and behaviour 16 pp 46-52

Xue, Y., Liu, H., Zhang, X. and Minami, M., 2008, September. Research on Fish Intelligence for Fish Trajectory Prediction Based on Neural Network. In International Symposium on Neural Networks (pp. 364-373). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
 
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Great post Onoma, also pointing how new and unexplored this topic is by scientists, with majority of sources dated within the last few years.

we “feel more comfortable imagining science as the exclusive preserve of lab-coated professors in well lit, publicly funded laboratories, surrounded by gleaming, expensive apparatus. In truth, though, the history of science is rooted in research carried out by independent devotees, driven by resourcefulness, passion and curiosity.”

I think this is the part that most people fail to realize. As fish keepers we have the resources and time and we must trust in our own ability to observe, understand and form opinions and conclusions, instead of searching and relying on written knowledge all the time to tell us what's in front of our own nose.

I'll quote Einstein on the same:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
 

zozo

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I once filmed it myself that goldfish definitively play.. And challange eachother to perform tasks. Or it might be dismised as mare interpretation. But we all know goldfish can be learned to perform tricks. But it's not only our intervention to present them with tricks and condition them with food. They also try to find diffucults tasks all by them selfs, they recognize it, challange and show off amongst eachother.



Anyway, they all know the easy route over the deeper part of the basket behind the wood. That the first route they found and took to get to the food in the basket. After a while they found more difficult entrees and exits and they like the challange to try that too. Here you can clearly see that one tries to get over the shallowest entree it can find in front of the wood and doesn't succeed. Than an other smaller one shows off how it's done. :) And both know the easy way in, but still are determined to take the challange.

ok i conditioned them with providing the challange, but i didn't condition them the try the hard way in. That's something that comes to their mind by own choice.
 
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I was just feeding my new betta fish which I only got about 3 weeks ago. He lives in an 80L tub by himself. For that time frame he's learned to come when I lean over and for some reason I always feed him in one corner. So when he sees me he hurries right into the corner. I decided I'd hold my hand in a different spot this time and hovered my hand in the middle instead. He was a bit shocked for a few seconds, just staring at my hand from a distance, sitting in that same corner where I normally drop the food. It took him about a minute and then he finally swam towards my hand, figuring this time it won't fall in the corner. I know some may think it is because of basic instinct, etc..., but aren't we all capable of doing anything just so we are fed?

My clown loaches are used to be fed in the morning and when I walk in, within about 5 minutes they're all out of their sleeping places and bunched up at the top. In the mornings I am in a hurry and I sometimes forget to feed them when I walk into the room, so to they try to remind me they are there waiting for food by splashing. They don't do that immediately, they wait for a while but if they are not getting what they want they start jumping up.

My dog for example, took a few years, but learned that if she hits her empty metal bowl against the wall, I come running filling it up because of the noise. It may be the water bowl or food bowl, but she does exactly the same when one is empty. It is strange that she wouldn't bark asking for food but has figured her own way. It is very similar to what the clown loaches do, creating sounds to alert the human...

On another hand my cat Shrek, who passed away some years ago, used to open the fridge with his paw, then he'd just sit in front of the open fridge, staring at me. This was his way of communicating he's hungry...He never opened the fridge when we were out.

The aforementioned kitty I raised from a newly born one with boiled potato used to bring me flies for breakfast. I'd wake up in the morning and look up at a very satisfied looking cat staring at me and a few dead flies on my pillow. That's all he could catch living in an apartment but he thought he needed to feed me, rather than the other way around :)
 

zozo

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Yes they did, for quite a long time.. I move them around a lot, from indoor to outdoor.. And than devide them over several aqauriums and tubs to over winter indoors. And i always notice that they definitively develop friendship and family bonds.. And show depressed behaivor for a while if separated and show great joy and playfulness if introduced back together. Same behaivor as a little joyfull puppy that is happy mommy is finaly back.

I have a small tnak in the kitchen that is housing about 18 juvenile brothers and sister all born last summer. They never got seperated and together from the day they where born. When i approach the tank all go bonkers beggin for food at the front panel. It's a little bussy aqaurium
with baby goldfish playing.. Lately i decided to take out the 5 smallest to move to another tank.

Guess what happened?.. The beggin stopped, the playing stoped. They kept quite for more then 2 weeks close to the substrate and even further to the back when i approached the tank. Food wasn't touched and they refused to come to the surface as long as i was in sight. Now two weeks later, they still are a bit nervious when i approach the tank.

They definitively didn't like the experience of what i did and i only seperated them all 5 were caught and taken out in 30 secends during feeding them.
And the rest noticed and it took them a while for the instinct that live goes on taking over again.
 

PARAGUAY

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A old Springwatch series had underwater cameras studying Three Spine Sticklebacks.A male had started to make the nest/nursery to attract females in the worst possible place in a open sandy area no plants ,All sorts of problems followed boisterous bigger fish aided by the current scattered the nursery in the confusion he tried to round up the fry eventually having to rebuild the nest.Other males tried to take it over,the threat of a Perch or Pike passing by always there. Not very intelligent but yet its the nature of a male stickleback defending something super confident with a aggresive nature, they would probably defend however foolhardy their fry against well probably a Pike.
 

zozo

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A old Springwatch series had underwater cameras studying Three Spine Sticklebacks.A male had started to make the nest/nursery to attract females in the worst possible place in a open sandy area no plants ,All sorts of problems followed boisterous bigger fish aided by the current scattered the nursery in the confusion he tried to round up the fry eventually having to rebuild the nest.Other males tried to take it over,the threat of a Perch or Pike passing by always there. Not very intelligent but yet its the nature of a male stickleback defending something super confident with a aggresive nature, they would probably defend however foolhardy their fry against well probably a Pike.

Accasionaly i kept sticklebacks in aqauriums. They are absolutely fearless, come out to inspect anything that moves to check if its eddible. If it is no mater the size they try to rip it appart.

This was my last sticky living it last days all alone in a 125 littre tub. No problem to find it nor to catch it. Curiousity kills the cat..
 
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"One of the divers noticed that the fish was staring at a small rock and then staring at her. The fish moved back and forth to her and then to the rock in front of her hands. The fish was acting so oddly that the diver beside her began to film the fish instead of looking for whale sharks and hammerheads. It first appeared that the fish liked the diver. Eventually realizing that the fish was returning to the same rock repeatedly, she wondered if something under the rock was making the fish excited.

As she reached out to lift the rock, the fish darted in front of it and stared intently. To her surprise, as she lifted the rock, she found a baby octopus underneath. This was a thrilling sight for the divers and it was obvious that the fish had seen or smelled the creature hiding beneath the rock. It was also possible that the octopus had been eating something that smelled interesting to the Mexican hogfish. The octopus was far too big for the hogfish to eat, so it merely watched as the divers filmed it out in the open. Fish become used to divers very quickly and they often understand that humans will not try to harm them, but to try to communicate with a diver and signal to a diver that something is under a rock would require more complex thought and understanding than we once believed they were capable of.

If the fish was truly hoping that the diver would lift the rock, that’s even more surprising. Yet, we see this sort of behavior constantly between groupers and scuba divers who spear hunt for lionfish. The groupers will actually locate the lionfish and stare into the hiding spots until the diver responds. The more we pay attention to the animals around us, the more we see that we have a lot to learn about them."
 
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