Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Goldfish learn how to drive and target similar visual cues as humans

Photo by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez via Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev constructed a tank on wheels that goldfish actually learned how to “drive”. Using cameras, the “car” was able to move in the direction the fish swam. They then tested whether the fish could purposefully navigate the car towards a target and observed that the fish could indeed swim towards a target in return for a treat, of course.

In a prior study, the researchers examined how fish pick out a specific visual target from a series of distracting objects in the environment. For humans, motion, certain colors, sizes, and orientations are helpful in identifying visual targets to pay attention to. As it turns out, archerfish notice the same types of visual cues, which is similar to other animals. Who knew we all had so much in common even though our environments and brain anatomy are quite different.



S Givon, M Samina, O Ben-Shahar, R Segev. From fish out of water to new insights on navigation mechanisms in animals. Behavioral Brain Research. 419: 113711, 2022.

A Reichenthal, M Ben-Tov, O Ben-Shahar, R Segev. What pops out for you pops out for fish: Four common visual features. Journal of Vision. 19: 1, 2019.

Categories: Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Livestock, Intelligence and Neuroscience, Pets

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