WAGGA WAGGA, Australia, Jan. 15 (UPI) — A widely held belief that fish remember things for only three seconds is a myth, an Australian researcher said.
Despite their tiny brains, fish actually are “quite sophisticated” and can retain memories for months, said Kevin Warburton, who teaches at the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University, New South Wales.
Silver perch, for example, remember a predator for several months after just one encounter, Warburton told The Daily Telegraph in a story published Friday.
“And carp that have been caught by fishers avoid hooks for at least a year,” Warburton said. “That fish have only a three-second memory is just rubbish.”
Fish also use memory to modify their behavior. In reefs, for example, so-called cleaner fish who glean parasites from other fish use their best behavior when they believe their are being observed by potential clients, Warburton said.
“This improves their ‘image’ and their chances of attracting clients,” Warburton said.
Copyright 2010 by United Press International