Innovative behaviour in fish: Atlantic cod can learn to use an external tag to manipulate a self-feeder

Sandie Millot, Jonatan Nilsson, Jan Erik Fosseidengen, Marie Laure Bégout, Anders Fernö, Victoria A. Braithwaite, Tore S. Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study describes how three individual fish, Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.), developed a novel behaviour and learnt to use a dorsally attached external tag to activate a self-feeder. This behaviour was repeated up to several hundred times, and over time these fish fine-tuned the behaviour and made a series of goal-directed coordinated movements needed to attach the feeder's pull string to the tag and stretch the string until the feeder was activated. These observations demonstrate a capacity in cod to develop a novel behaviour utilizing an attached tag as a tool to achieve a goal. This may be seen as one of the very few observed examples of innovation and tool use in fish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-785
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Cognition
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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