Tuesday, May 17

Study proves goldfish know their way around land

Goldfish have a sense of direction in the water … but also on dry land. Israeli researchers have succeeded in proving that goldfish are able to find their way in a terrestrial environment in a study published in the February edition of the journal Behavioral Brain Research.

Scientists at Ben Gurion University in the Negev Desert (Israel) were able to make the discovery through a robotic platform, placed under the goldfish aquarium and allowing them to move.

To observe the progress of their work, the researchers placed cameras, connected to a computer guiding the vehicle, on the structure of the device to follow the movement of the goldfish acting as a guinea pig.

A video was even posted online by them to report on the conclusive results obtained. The concept is simple: to allow the fish to “steer” the aquarium by moving forward when it moves forward and immobilizing it when it is placed in the rear area.

A reward system for fish

To reach this conclusion, the study authors placed a target outside the vehicle. As soon as the fish managed to reach it, they were rewarded with 0.002 grams of food granule to encourage them to reach this goal.

After a few days, the fish managed to hit the target without getting lost, “avoiding dead ends” and despite changing the starting point frequently, according to the study. The established observation was clear: the goldfish has the “capacity to transfer its spatial representation and its navigation capacities in a completely different terrestrial environment”.


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