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Shy Fish

December 22, 2010

Shy trout grow faster, according to new research.


Fishy personalities….I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

While the protagonist in the movie Finding Nemo may have been pretty charismatic, personality is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fish. But behavioral ecologist Bart Adriaenssens of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden says individual brown trout do have personalities, even as juveniles.

BART ADRIAENSSENS (University of Gothenburg):
We observed fish in individual tanks over and over again and after awhile it becomes clear that different individuals behave consistently differently.

They then released the fish back into the wild and recaptured them at a later date. He says contrary to expectations, it was the shyer, more cautious fish that gained the most weight during that time, rather than the bolder, more aggressive individuals. He adds that individual personalities have been observed in a growing number of animal species, from bumblebees to birds. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.