24 December 2006

Lovely Weather for a Fish Hunt Together with You

Of course, one of the things we all love about Christmas is that it's the time of year when people are more likely to work together for the greater good. Once again, though, mankind has been one-upped by nature: fish work together throughout year. A recent study of groupers and moray eels in the Red Sea has shown that these two totally unrelated fish regularly hunt together, to the benefit of each. Truly cooperative hunting requires two species with complex brains, as both must be able to communicate with the other, and the behavior has previously been observed only in birds and mammals. For more on the fairly major implications of this study, see the well-written (if somewhat overstated) response by Frans de Waal. Also be sure to check out the original article, particularly the videos of hunting groupers and eels. So, there you go, the spirit of the season embodied by fish. Merry Christmas!

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