Little Fish Have Mindfulness

Biologists found out that a little tropic fish blue streak (Labroides dimidiatus) have mindfulness. They went through a mirror test, which is a classic test during which they had to compare themselves with their reflection in the mirror.

Gordon Gallup Jr. Was the one who suggested a mirror test back in the years 1970`s. Ever since this method has become standard for checking upon whether fish have mindfulness. For the purpose of the test, a bright spot with paint is put on the body of a testee. For example, they do it on the faces if to speak about monkeys. If after seeing itself in the mirror, an animal is trying to touch the spot or to get rid of it, it is considered that it recognized itself in the mirror, consequently, it has a mindfulness. Many species went through this test, but far from each coped with it. Apart from a human, chimpanzee, bonobo, red apes, dolphins, elephants, doves and pies have gone through the test. If to speak about fish, devilfish are the ones who behaved in an unusual way, but resulting data is not enough to arrive at firm conclusions.

In a new work, biologists put little Labroides dimidiatus fish to the mirror test. They eat parasites on the surface of bigger marine animals, which is why their eyesight is pretty good. Besides, territoriality is defined for them meaning that they live in a certain territory and protects from outsiders. After scientists to put a mirror next to the fish, the latter began to react to the reflection of competition to come over ready to encroach on territorial integrity. However, after some time their behaviour strongly changed and they began as if to look in the mirror.

Then, scientists put spots on the fish foreheads, which were seen in the mirror only. As a result, some blue streaks started to look at each other for a little bit longer, and part of them even began to rub against stones, as if hoping to get rid of the spot somehow. Authors jump to a conclusion that such a behaviour shows these fish to be mindful, as long as they identified themselves with a reflection and tried to remove the spot with the only accessible way. In order to jump to a final conclusion, background studies are still required, as long as biologists could not exclude all alternative interpretations.


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Melisa Marzett

    About the author: Along with writing, Melisa Marzett loves animals very much. In her childhood, she had a big aquarium…

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