Blind Cave Fish Able to ‘Count’
by Zoe Gough
Blind cave-dwelling fish are able to discriminate between different quantities, scientists say. The fish, found beneath the deserts in Somalia, learned to identify the greater of two groups of sticks placed at opposite ends of a tank.
Researchers say it is the first time non-visual numerical abilities have been shown in fish. They do not know whether the sightless fish have inherited the skills or evolved them to find food.
The findings are published in The Journal of Experimental Biology. Previous studies have shown that fish, mammals and birds can determine quantities and solve different numerical tasks.
The Italian-based research team chose the fish, Phreatichthys andruzzii, because they have evolved for two million years in completely dark caves and have lost their sense of sight…
(read more: BBC Nature)
photograph by Luca Scapoli