Archive for February, 2010

The Memory Theory In Fish

Do Fish Have Memories?

If they do, just how good are they?

According to some scientists, memories in fish are better than we may have believed. Forget what you know or have heard, Fish have a memory that lasts much more than three seconds and are capable of deception and learning, say’s Dr Kevin Warbuton from New South Wales. He has been studying fish for more than three decades and says they’re much better at memory than we give them credit for. He states the idea that fish have a short memory is wrong. “It’s absolute rubbish”. “There’s been a lot of work done over the last 15 years on learning and memory in fish, and it has been found that fish are quite sophisticated. Fish can remember prey types for months; they can learn to avoid predators after being attacked once and they retain this memory for several months.”

Warbuton believes fish are capable of learning, albeit at a cost. For example, his research on the silver perch revealed something unexpected. “With one type of prey, the fish got more and more efficient at catching their food,” he says. “But when we put two different types of prey in together, their overall efficiency dropped. We think it was because they suffered from divided attention. It’s a cost of learning.”

Dr Ashley Ward, a fish biologist at the University of Sydney says where the three-second memory urban myth came from is hard to find. “It seems to come from an advert many years ago, but nobody is sure what it was for,” he says.
Ward believes the misconceptions surrounding the intelligence of fish may stem from the early days of zoology. “Back then [zoologists] tested their abilities based on what a human could do … so obviously the fish would fail.” Ward says we now know of numerous of examples of fish displaying amazing memory skills.

He refers to one anecdote from the United States, where a Professor Charles Eriksen spent several months feeding a pond of fish while calling out “fish-fish”. After a break of five years, Eriksen returned to the pond and called out “fish-fish”. Immediately a number of the surviving fish swam to the surface waiting to be fed.

I wish I could call out fish-fish and the trout would end up on the end of my line. Nahhh, that would take the fun out of it for us. In all seriousness though what does this information mean to me. Well first off if a fish has that good of memory, then how often I change lures needs to be reconsidered. The colours I use most often needs to thought about. Perhaps I need to paint my lures customs colours, that way the fish will not remember me when I cast my lures to them. I know some of them laugh at me when I use the same thing over and over again. Now that I know a little more my decision making will change. Hopefully these facts will help you make better decisions while out on the water casting to your favourite species of fish.