Something’s fishy in Denmark! Creatures of habit? Researchers in Denmark have found that fish have surprising, human-like fish personalities!
Some people are creatures of habit. They eat the same foods and prefer just a few select restaurants. Others enjoy changing things up quite a bit, much preferring to try out the newest restaurant instead of the old stand-bys. It now appears that fish, of all beings, are the same way! Researchers have found that some fish “personalities” make them rather open-minded about things like where to find food. Other fish tend to go on autopilot, returning to the “usual” place to find their meals.
In an experiment, researchers put fish in an aquarium where they had to search for food. Over time, they learned to find their treats in one specific place. Later, researchers moved the food. The open-minded swimmers found the new location of their meals much more quickly than others did—20 times faster. The fish that tended to be on autopilot went directly to the old food location first—even though they had to swim right over the food to get there!
What does this mean for fish? Researchers say that, like us and our other pets, different fish will prefer different things. They might like the thrill of the hunt for food. They might prefer a warmer or cooler tank. They might like more or less oxygen. Don’t mess with the water and oxygen, just to be safe. But you might try “sprinkling” his next meal in a different location than normal, just for kicks. Or try another food or brand that’s appropriate for your pet.
Do you have fish with personality? Tell us in the comments how you can tell!