Skip to Main Content

Which Way to the Sandbar?

Written by PETA | September 8, 2010

You won’t catch a male ninespine stickleback asking that question, according to a recent study conducted at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Researchers Dr. Mike Webster and Professor Kevin Laland found that while ninespine sticklebacks are known to be capable of sophisticated social learning behavior, including communicating with each other about where to find the best food sources, males who are preparing to breed will stop “asking for directions,” so to speak, and go out foraging for food on their own.


Jeff Kubina / CC by 2.0
silver fish


The researchers believe that the fish do this because they need to find new food reserves that they can easily return to once their babies hatch, after which they will need to spend more time guarding and caring for them.

Says Dr. Webster, “Over the last few years, we have learned the surprising extent of the cognitive capabilities of many species of fish, and recent research has shown that rather than blindly copying others, fish are selective in when they copy and even who they learn from.”

Sound like someone you know? No word on whether male ninespine sticklebacks also monopolize the remote and leave the toilet seat up.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Related Posts



Post a Comment

If your comment doesn't appear right away, please be patient as it may take some time to publish or may require moderation.

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

  • Shari says:

    Oh what a pretty fish! pictured above Opps I mean “SEA KITTEN” We must take care of these Sea Kittens. I often think people forget about them because they are not seen everyday the way our land animals are. We must show more pictures of these wonderful underwater beauties! To remind humans what is under our oceans!