文章出自 《Ocean Geographic》– Fishy Feeling
根據 Alex Rose 的研究所指出：
根據 Jonathan Balcombe （《What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins》一書的作者）書本指出，我們嚴重低估了整個海洋脊椎動物。 「由於魚類棲息在廣闊而晦澀的棲息地中，科學才剛剛開始在其生活的表面之下進行探索。 它們並不是本能驅動或類似機器的生存。 他們的思想對不同情況有靈活的反應。 它們不僅僅是事物； 他們是有生命的生命，這對於他們來說很重要。」
這些小魚具有令人難以置信的能力，可以繪製潮汐區域的心理圖，並一次記住數週。 他們在漲潮時游泳，並記住漲潮水塘時的佈局，以便日後可以在退潮時使用此信息來準確地從一個水塘跳到另一個水塘，以逃避肉食動物。 他們可以一次性規劃並記住40天該位置。
有人觀察到石斑魚邀請海鰻參加突擊行動，通過搖頭姿勢或全身發抖來交流。 兩條魚可能彼此了解，因為個體識別是魚之間的標準社交。 如果石斑魚將魚追到礁石縫隙中，它會用魚的身體指向隱藏的獵物，直到細長的鰻魚追趕它。這證明魚類會透過合作狩獵的技術來覓食。
清潔魚與其主人之間錯綜複雜的關係也表明， 性能更好的清潔魚會有更多的主人。反過來，有觀眾時，它們也做得更好。 清潔魚實際上可以「通過撫養客戶的胸鰭來提高聲譽。」 這種身體接觸的密切關係不僅在清潔時會出現，而且透過測試證實牠們因身體接觸而壓力減輕。 在一項針對刺尾魚的研究中，這些動物在被限制的水桶中30分鐘後，會主動尋找一種清潔魚的機械模型去被撫摸以自我安慰。 而不是真的「機械」清潔魚撫摸著牠們，會使牠們的皮質醇水平急劇下降。
Report by Alex Rose
- “Fish are sentient beings with lives that matter to them. A FISH HAS A BIOGRAPHY, NOT JUST BIOLOGY.”
- The intricate relationship between cleaner fish and their clients also points to a higher level of AWARENESS AND SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE IN FISHES.
- If just being placed in a bucket can measurably traumatise a surgeonfish, we can only IMAGINE WHAT FISH MUST FEEL WHEN THEY ARE CAUGHT.
For the vast majority of human existence, we have thought of ourselves as the only sentient species that truly exhibits cognizance. While the topic of perceived consciousness in non-human mammals has been debated for centuries, it was not until recently that we began to seriously examine the question of what fish might be thinking and feeling. Fish are often assumed to have little capacity for learning and are rumoured to have a three-second memory, but scientists are now finding that aquatic vertebrates actually are capable of quite a sophisticated range of behaviours and have impressive learning abilities.
A study about giant manta rays published earlier this year showed that they were able to recognize reflections as themselves. According to Dr. Csilla Ari, one of the marine biologists leading the research, “The manta rays showed contingency checking and self-directed unusual, repetitive behaviour, including exposing body parts to the mirror that would not have been visible otherwise, while visually oriented to the mirror.” Since they made no attempts to interact socially with their reflections, this suggests they understood it to represent themselves instead of another manta ray. This may not seem like a major achievement, but self-recognition is an indicator of self-awareness, one of those advanced mental attributes thought to be possessed by only a limited number of “intelligent” mammals and birds. But the closer we look, the more it seems that fish do in fact think and feel.
Jonathan Balcombe, the author of ‘What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins”, is a biologist who studies animal behaviour and emotions. His research indicates that we grossly underestimate what goes through the minds of marine vertebrates in general, not just mantas. “Because fishes inhabit vast, obscure habitats, science has only begun to explore below the surface of their private lives. They are not instinct-driven or machine-like. Their minds respond flexibly to different situations. They are not just things; they are sentient beings with lives that matter to them. A fish has a biography, not just biology.”
Take for example the frillfin goby. These little fish have an incredible ability to create mental maps of tidal zones and remember them for weeks at a time. They swim around at high tide and memorise the layout of the tide pools so they can later use this information at low tide to accurately jump from pool to pool to evade predators. They can swim the layout once and remember it for 40 days. While extremely impressive, this certainly is not the only strikingly smart thing fish can do.
Tool use was one of those traits initially considered to be uniquely human, but it turns out that many animals, including fish, are capable of it, too. As Balcombe explains: “The enterprising orange-dotted tusk fish, a species native to the western Pacific, first uncovers a clam by blowing water on the sand, then carries the mollusc in its mouth to a nearby rock and smashes the clam on the rock with a series of deft head flicks. This is more than tool use. By using a logical sequence of behaviours, involving several distinct stages, the tusk fish also shows itself to be a planner.”
In addition to advanced tool use, fish also exhibit cooperative hunting techniques. Some predatory species will coordinate their attacks to herd baitfish together to increase the likelihood of nabbing a meal, while others will work cooperatively with completely different species to catch their prey. Groupers and moray eels have been documented working together and physically communicating in an effort to hunt more efficiently. “A grouper has been observed inviting a moray eel to join in a foray, communicating by a head-shaking gesture or a full body shimmy. The two fishes probably know each other, for individual recognition is the norm in fish societies. If the grouper chases a fish into a reef crevice, it uses its body to point to the hidden prey until the slender eel goes after it; if the hapless quarry escapes to open water, the grouper is waiting. Both partners dine more often by working together.”
The intricate relationship between cleaner fish and their clients also points to a higher level of awareness and social intelligence in fishes. Cleaner fish that perform better have more clients, and in turn, they do a better job when they have an audience. Cleaner fish can actually “boost their reputations by caressing clients with their pectoral fins.” This affinity for physical touch goes beyond just a perk while being cleaned and is a physiologically measurable stress reducer. In a study conducted on surgeonfish, these animals actively sought out the physical touch of a mechanical model of a cleaner fish to comfort themselves after being confined to a shallow bucket for 30 minutes. Their cortisol levels dropped dramatically when stroked by the fake fish after this stressful event.
The discovery of these complex behaviours and reactions will hopefully draw attention to a side of fishes that has until now been mostly overlooked. If just being placed in a bucket can measurably traumatise a surgeonfish, we can only imagine what fish must feel when they are caught. Whether hooked through the mouth, trapped in a gill net, crushed under the weight of other fish in a trawl net, or tossed carelessly back into the ocean as bycatch, their experience must be terrifying. As Dr. Sylvia Earle often says: “The ocean has given us so much for so long; it’s time for us to return the favour.” Perhaps this new information will change the way we look at these aquatic denizens and help improve animal welfare standards so we can at least move towards the more merciful and humane treatment of fishes worldwide.
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