Saturday, December 16, 2006

Fish with Personality?

` I have been slacking off with my blogging duties, and so, a recent draft:

` I was just reading a Nature News article that said that the personality of Oncorhynchus mykiss, the rainbow trout, can be altered depending on life experience.
` Lynne Sneddon of the University of Lilverpool, studied part of what makes some fish bold and others shy. Sure, part of it is inherited. However, this isn't always the best advantage: If a naturally aggressive male fights off rivals fairly well, it could also scare off the females. So how can they be born that way?
` Well, we're all a bit different because we cannot be exactly the same if only most of our genes are the same. (So, we can only be mostly the same.) Each individual is a variant. So, what if that variant has problems? Well, it needs to be flexible, doesn't it? Until recently, scientists - who had not gotten around to exploring this idea yet - have held a mistaken assumption:

"Traditionally they were thought to be consistent," says Sneddon. "But actually no one had looked to see."
` So, she, along with her colleagues, encouraged fish to fight against unmatched opponents (so that they were sure to either win or lose), and the results were published in Proceedings of the Royal Society.
` The boldest trout tended to be bolder when they won against other fish and were less afraid of novel food items. However, if a bold fish instead lost many fights, they were more cautious than they had been before.

` Perhaps when they lose a fight, the fish's brains release stress hormones, which make them wary?
` These fish also changed their behavior when they watched others. Bold fish that watched shy fish investigate some kind of unfamiliar object were much more nervous when they were then given a mystery item.
` On the other hand, shy fish that won fights gained confidence. That is predictable. However, they were surprised when the shy fish that lost also did so. Perhaps this is because shy fish are more desparate about food because other fish steal food from those they know will lose a fight.
` Of course, this type of thing also applies to humans: Very amazing successes can cause someone's personality to change and they become more confident, perhaps even cocky. On the other hand, a huge trauma can also make someone be 'a totally different person'.
` Yeah. First-hand experience tells me: No kidding.

5 comments:

Aaron said...

It seems very logical to me. These personality traits are found all over the animal kingdom, aren't they?

Galtron said...

So, does this mean you can condition trout to be attack-fish?

Aaron said...

Attack Fish? Sweet!

S E E Quine said...

` Indeed. Animals do have personality traits, although this finding was somewhat unexpected in that a fish's personality can change.
` I'm gonna condition me some attack fish now!

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