Flirting with the enemy: fish using sharks to exfoliate

The fish in this video aren’t snuggling with sharks – they are exfoliating. A team of researchers from the University of Miami, US, documented 47 instances of fish getting up close and personal with the enemy by rubbing against sharks – some even dared to rub against great whites. “While we don’t exactly know why … Continue reading Flirting with the enemy: fish using sharks to exfoliate

You may have missed…

Fish camouflage better without friends watching Like chameleons of the sea, gobies change colour to hide from predators like larger fish and birds – and they do so better when they’re alone. A new study published in Royal Society Open Science tested the colour-changing ability of these bottom-dwelling fish alone and in pairs. When by … Continue reading You may have missed…

On electric fish and dramatic pauses

To communicate a message powerfully, well-timed pauses can be as important as the words, if not more so. In this, humans are not much different from other animals, it seems – even fish. Researchers studying African electric fish called mormyrids (Brienomyrus brachyistius) have revealed an underlying neurological mechanism for the phenomenon, as reported in the … Continue reading On electric fish and dramatic pauses

Netflix and gill: TV for fish

If you are a fish and want to watch TV, this might be the invention for you. Researchers from the University of Queensland have developed an ultraviolet “television” display specially designed for fish. This could help them learn more about how fish and other animals see the world, they suggest in their paper, published in … Continue reading Netflix and gill: TV for fish

Climate change could make sexier fish

Of all the impacts climate change could have on marine life, scientists have discovered that some fish adapt by developing bigger gonads to make more sperm and eggs. Investing in reproduction could help ensure the survival of their lineage. But it only occurred in one of four species – common fish that have been identified … Continue reading Climate change could make sexier fish

Do fish dream?

By James Bradley A century ago the German biologist Jakob von Uexküll coined the term umwelt – literally “surrounding world” – as a way of capturing the way different organisms inhabit different realities, each defined by their particular sensory world. The world of a fish, its umwelt, is radically different from our own. Fish inhabit … Continue reading Do fish dream?

Scientists go fishing for fish DNA

It seems you can tell how many fish there are in the sea (or at least a part of it) from what they leave behind. In a recent US study, scientists found that floating bits of DNA in small water samples revealed the relative biomass of fish roughly as well as a “gold standard” government … Continue reading Scientists go fishing for fish DNA

NatureWrap: These guys mess with killer whales

Long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) off southern Australia mimic the calls of killer whales – their natural predator and food rival – as a possible ploy to outsmart them, a new study shows. Researchers from Curtin University also found evidence of duetting – coordinated and patterned singing related to social bonding and coordination of behaviour – … Continue reading NatureWrap: These guys mess with killer whales

Dreaming in the key of the sea

Research suggests fish use tools, have complex social lives and are self aware. James Bradley explores what that means for the way we test intelligence, and how we treat this diverse, enigmatic community. Earlier this year, while on a field trip in the Cocos Islands, I took some time out and went snorkelling. I was … Continue reading Dreaming in the key of the sea

New school of thought on how fish swim

Do fish save energy by swimming in schools? New technology suggests the answer to this old question is yes. German and Chinese scientists used biomimetic fish-like robots and hydrodynamic models to show, they say, that fish take advantage of the swirls of water generated by those in front by applying a simple but previously unknown … Continue reading New school of thought on how fish swim

Cosmos Q&A: Saving our fishes

Australian freshwater fishes have a tough time of it. The thing they most need – water – is regularly in short supply and a lot of people want it. In order to get water, humans have changed the way our inland rivers run beyond measure, and a lot of the things they’ve done have hurt … Continue reading Cosmos Q&A: Saving our fishes

NatureWatch: Sounds of dogs and dolphins

A singing dog encore? The New Guinea Singing Dog (NGSD), not seen in the wild for 50 years, is not lost forever, a new study suggests. Genomic analysis of dogs captured in the highlands provides evidence for an ancestral relationship between highland wild dogs (HWD) and captive NGSD, the researchers say. This suggests the founding … Continue reading NatureWatch: Sounds of dogs and dolphins