Fish – the tool user

Used to be us primates. Then the birds, and now this. Watch your back–the lower vertebrates are getting uppity:

The perpetrator was an an orange-dotted tuskfish. The deed was caught on film by Giacomo Bernardi of UC Santa Cruz. From the story at Science Daily:

‘”What the movie shows is very interesting. The animal excavates sand to get the shell out, then swims for a long time to find an appropriate area where it can crack the shell,” Bernardi said. “It requires a lot of forward thinking, because there are a number of steps involved. For a fish, it’s a pretty big deal” . . . The actions recorded in the video are remarkably similar to previous reports of tool use by fish. Every case has involved a species of wrasse using a rock as an anvil to crush shellfish. A report published in June in Coral Reefs included photos of this behavior in a blackspot tuskfish on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Bernardi said he first heard of the phenomenon in 1994, when a colleague (James Coyer) observed a yellowhead wrasse in Florida doing the same thing. Similar behavior was also reported in a sixbar wrasse in an aquarium setting.’

Blackspot tuskfish

 

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