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Study Shows Goldfish Can “Drive” Fish Operated Vehicle To Visual Targets

by Wisdom Frida

Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev trained goldfish to use the Fish Operated Vehicle (FOV). They found that fish can explore new environments and “drive” the FOV toward visual targets on land.

Researchers experiment with goldfish. (Photo via Unsplash.com)

Jerusalem, Israel (Merxwire) – There is a rumor on the Internet about goldfish, that their memory is only seven seconds, some people even think that the fish is stupid, but scientists have long overturned this claim. New research from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev also shows that by giving food as a reward, goldfish can be trained to “drive” the FOV towards visual targets on land. The study was published in Behavioural Brain Research.

Navigation is a critical ability for animals to survive and is important for foraging, finding shelter, finding mates, and a variety of other behaviors. To study the animals’ ability to navigate, the researchers used goldfish to conduct experiments to determine whether navigational abilities depended on species, ecosystems, and brain structures.

How well do fish navigate? In the experiment, the researchers fixed a fish tank on a small electric vehicle, used a camera to record the movements of the goldfish in the water, and then converted the information into commands to control the direction of the FOV’s movement so that it could move in the direction of the goldfish’s swimming.

The researchers made colored marks on the walls of the laboratory. As long as the goldfish successfully reached the target, it could obtain a food particle of 0.002 grams. After several days of training, the researchers found that the goldfish could already move towards the target, so A follow-up also explored whether goldfish could overcome environmental manipulation.

Study find goldfish can learn complex tasks in different environments. (Photo via Unsplash.com)

The experimental results show that even if the goldfish is blocked by a wall or encounters interference in the middle, it can continue to move towards the target and will not be deceived by the fake target placed by the researchers.

“The study hints that navigational ability is universal rather than specific to the environment. Second, it shows that goldfish have the cognitive ability to learn a complex task in an environment completely unlike the one they evolved in. As anyone who has tried to learn how to ride a bike or to drive a car knows, it is challenging at first,” Shachar Givon, a PhD student in the Life Sciences Department in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, said in a press release.

These results demonstrate how a fish can transfer navigation skills from the water to a terrestrial environment and overcome obstacles. Interestingly, fish can train behavior through food rewards, just like dogs! People have found that fish can feel pain in the past, and now people have found that fish can be trained to “drive” FOV. Perhaps fish are more intelligent than humans can imagine.

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