Fish Playing

Fish Just Wanna Have Fun!

According to a UT University of Tennessee study found here it finds even fish “play.”

A university professor, Gordon Burghardt, in the departments of Psychology and Ecology are Evolutionary Biology, is well- known for defining “play” in a way that allows us to identify it in species not previously thought capable of play, such as wasps, reptiles and invertebrates.

Burghardt goes on to state, “Play is repeated behavior that is incompletely functional in the context or at the age in which it is performed and is initiated voluntarily when the animal or person is in a relaxed or low-stress setting.”

For two years his team studied and filmed three male fish individually. The fish were observed repeatedly striking a bottom-weighted thermometer. Food was not a factor as well as they tested it with and without food. They also tested to see if they placed fish in visible aquariums next to them, but all of that did not have an effect on their behavior. The “thermometer-attacking” is fits exactly Burghardt believes is “play.”

“The quick righting response seemed the primary stimulus factor that maintained the behavior,” said Burghardt. “We have observed octopus doing this with balls by pulling them underwater and watching them pop back up again. This reactive feature is common in toys used for children and companion animals.”

“Play is an integral part of life and may make a life worth living.”
- Gordon Burghardt

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