| GEO Amazing and Insteresting|
| Fish scared of their own reflections|
| Updated at: 0926 PST, Sunday, May 23, 2010|
LONDON: Fish get scared by looking at their own reflection and try to fight themselves in a mirror, biologists have discovered.
Researchers compared the behaviour and brain activity of fish during one-on-one encounters with a mirror and another male of about the same size.
The team from Stanford University found male African cichlid were scared when they saw their reflection, and that this fear increased when they realised it was making the same movements as them.
It's said this means fish are actually smarter than most people give them credit for and their brains work in much the same way as humans.
I think we all know someone who gets confused by their own reflection and will pick a fight with it -- especially after a few drinks on a Friday night.
"It seems like something they don't understand," said Julie Desjardins, a postdoctoral researcher in biology.
"But I think it indicates there is more going on cognitively than people have long assumed in fish. I think this stimulus is just so far outside their realm of experience that it results in this somewhat emotional response."
The discovery was made by examining the fishes' brains, which showed high activity in the amygdala, the brain region crucial to fear, in those which had encountered their reflection.
"The amygdala is a part of the brain that has been associated with fear and fear conditioning, not only in fish but across all vertebrates," added Desjardins.