FISH NEED FRIENDS
Fish feed more when they are surrounded by other fish, says a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers made a detailed and complex analysis of fishes’ behaviour on a number of sites in French Polynesia, and found that they not only grazed more when there were other fish present, but that some activities (such as movement between patches of reef) were influenced by the behaviour of other fish.
The study drew two important conclusions: One, fish appear to feel that they are safer from predators when there are larger numbers of other fish in the area; and two, “copycat” behaviours are important drivers of piscine activity.
Herbivorous fish play a vital role on the reef, keeping turf algae in check. This new research sheds light on just how necessary complex and healthy fish populations are for a healthy reef.