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These fish are recognizable in the photos

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Research conducted by Japanese and Swiss scientists shows that the sanitary wrasse, a species of fish from the wrasse family, can be recognized in a photo when it sees its face. Viewing the whole body did not produce this effect, experts report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research was conducted by a team of experts led by Professor Masanori Kohda from Osaka Metropolitan University. The results were published in early February in the weekly Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The experiment used sanitary wrasses (Labroides dimidiatus), i.e. fish from the wrasse family (Labridae), which clean other fish from skin parasites. It has already been shown that they recognize each other in the mirror, now it turned out that they also recognize themselves in photographs.

Tests. “Pisces have a sense of self”

In the latest study, scientists showed wrasses four pictures. In the first one they were alone, in the second other individuals, in the third – the mouth of the examined wrasse applied to the foreign body, and in the fourth – the mouth of the alien wrasse on the body of the individual that was examined. The fish didn’t just attack the photos where they saw their own mouths. The researchers concluded that this is because the fish can recognize themselves in the photo. However, the researchers wanted to see if the fish were attacking their photos because they thought they saw someone close to them, but not necessarily themselves. For this, they conducted a test similar to the mirror test. In such a test, if scientists want to prove that an animal can recognize itself in a mirror, they make a visible mark on its face. If the animal, looking in the mirror, recognizes itself, then it tries to wipe the mark from its mouth. This time the procedure was analogous, but not with the mirror, but with the photo. In the pictures where the fish were examined, lines were made near the mouths that resembled attached parasites. At that time, the examined fish, when they saw their own portraits with markings, began to wipe off in the place where the dark marks were visible in the photos. ‘This is the first study to prove that fish have a sense of self,’ said Professor Kohda.

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Sanitary wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus), illustrative photo Adobe Stock

Main photo source: Adobe Stock

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