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Tiny fish passes mirror test, might be self-aware

The results suggest that the wrasse could perceive the images in the mirror as their own reflection, and the gel tests seem to indicate that they can notice outside changes to their bodies.

ALEXANDRU MICU: ‘Another animal passes the mirror test — surprisingly, this time it’s a fish. The mirror test is a classic experiment used to determine animal self-awareness that only a handful of species have passed. A paper published by an international research team suggest that there might be more to the mind of the Cleaner Wrasse than we’d suspected. This tiny, unassuming tropical fish has just joined the few creatures that seem able to recognize their own reflection, the team writes… The team, with members from Japan, Germany, and Switzerland, settled on the Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) for their experiment as it has good vision and for its ability to spot parasites on other fish — both of which make it ideally suited for MSR-type tests.

The team placed 10 fish in individual tanks outfitted with a mirror… the researchers placed a spot of colored gel on eight of the fishes’ heads in a position where they’d only be visible in the mirror. Seven of the fish spent ‘significantly more’ time in positions where the gel was visible in their reflection, the team writes. Several of them went on to spend more time than before trying to scrape the area against objects in their environment, the researchers add… The results suggest that the Wrasse could perceive the images in the mirror as their own reflection, and the gel tests seem to indicate that they can notice outside changes to their bodies’. SOURCE…

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