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Friday, October 2, 2015

02/10/2015: Fish can recognise faces, a surprisingly human skill

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/151001-fish-faces-animals-science-oceans/
Image: Suzanne Schroeter
A coral reef fish can discriminate between individual fish by their unique facial patterns—just like we do, Mary Bates writes for National Geographic.

A school of fish might seem like a sea of identical faces, but at least one species has no problem telling its comrades—and even strangers—apart, new research says.                                                                                              

To human eyes, which cannot see ultraviolet light, the Ambon damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis), appears yellow with a few spots.

But to damselfish, which can see ultraviolet wavelengths, their fellow species sport a complex array of facial patterns that are unique to each individual.

"The idea is that these patterns help the fish communicate secretly—without attracting the attention of predators, which, like us, are UV blind," says experiment leader Ulrike Siebeck of the University of Queensland, Australia. (See photo gallery: "Masters of Undersea Camouflage.")

Scientists could see these patterns when they viewed the fish, native to coral reefs in the Western Pacific Ocean, through a camera with a filter that blocks all wavelengths of light except ultraviolet.

Read the full article and watch the video HERE.

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