A fish who blushes, a cat who gets seasick and a penguin who goes green from pollution are just some of the creatures that have become the focus of research into how animals react to threats to their habitat. Animal behavior experts are helping conservationists to understand how animals behave in the wild, and why they do behave in a certain way.
Scientists are getting to know the habits of animals by tracking and observing them. But this type of fieldwork is expensive and not always possible. That’s when technology comes in. Scientists have been using devices to monitor wild animals for decades, such as radio collars, and GPS devices. Now, they have some very high-tech methods to monitor animals, even animals that live in the water.
The species that blush
We assume that human beings have been the only species to blush, but that is far from the truth. There are actually quite a few other species that blush. Fish, for example. It may sound crazy, but fish blush. When a male fish sees a female fish of its liking, it will blush to make itself more attractive to the female. This is called a courtship display.
Different species of fish will blush in different ways. Some will blush on their cheeks and some will blush on their stomachs. Some will even blush on their tails. One thing that humans have in common with other species that blush is that the blushing is due to blood rushing to the skin. When we blush, more blood rushes to our skin, and our skin becomes red. When fish blush, their skin becomes red as well.
How do you know when a fish is blushing?
Fish can’t blush — or can they? Some people claim to have seen it happen, but scientists have been skeptical. A new study suggests they’re right. Fish don’t blush. Blushing, like feelings and other complex emotions, relies on a part of the brain called the neocortex, which fish don’t have. But the research team led by Jacob Blumenschine, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University and an expert on the biomechanics of animal predation, also saw evidence that fish may have other complex social emotions.
Blumenschine and his team analyzed the facial muscles of rainbow trout ( Oncorhynchus mykiss ) and found that in male fish that had been isolated from females for a month, a muscle that runs from the jaw to the side of the head called the opercularis was smaller than in a group of males that had been kept with females.
The physical change in the fish was the result of a change in social status. “This is the first time that anyone has shown that a fish has a facial expression that is linked to a change in their social status,” said study co-author Jonathan Rehg, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive Science at Indiana University.
Are there any other animals that blush?
Some animals, like humans, blush when they feel embarrassed. But other animals have different reactions. For example, deer go “white” when they feel scared or are startled. In the wild, this makes them harder to see. It’s like a deer version of the fight-or-flight response that humans get. Fish also blush — but it’s not because they’re embarrassed.
Fish blush to show their strength. The fish that blushes the most is the one that’s dominant. Animals that don’t blush usually have a different “dominant” trait. For example, in lions, the male with the mane and the most fur is the one that’s the most dominant. But what about other animals? Can animals other than humans blush?
Is it Possible to see Feelings in animals?
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if a fish is feeling happy or sad. For example, your fish might look a little grumpy, but that doesn’t mean he’s upset. Fish are very different than land animals. They don’t have any facial expressions that we can recognize. So fish can’t smile, frown, or look angry. But that doesn’t mean fish don’t have feelings.
In fact, fish are very social creatures. They live in schools and can recognize each other. They also have a lot of feelings. For example, some fish are naturally curious. They’ll investigate new objects, and even approach a human. Other fish love to play. They’ll swim back and forth between two people, or play peek-a-boo. Some fish are shy though, and will swim away when they are frightened.
The science behind the fish blush.
Fish have a lot of things to worry about. They have predators, they have water to breathe, they have food to find and they have to avoid getting eaten by other fish. But did you know that the fish blush? That’s right. Fish blush. That’s right. Fish can blush. How can fish blush, you ask? After all, they don’t have cheeks. It’s quite simple really. Fish blush using their blood. They can change the color of their blood to something other than red, which shows through their skin. So, the next time you see a fish, look at it closely. Find out if it’s blushing.