Saddle Wrasse

Thalassoma jansenii

Guardian: Callandra Leigh

Social Fish are Intelligent:

1.They not only have good memories, they can learn and they teach each other different feeding strategies, cleaning behaviour, eating jellyfish gonads, targeting naïve Damselfish, using rocks to smash open clams and sea urchins.

2.They can form mental maps and teach each other the route to different food sources.

3.They not only develop a social hierarchy, they can deduce who is more dominant without conflict (if fish A beat up B and B beat up C; then fish A is the king).

4.They can deduce danger by watching other fish (if the smell or sight of something scares a more experienced fish, then they will avoid it as well).

5.They can communicate with other species (if a coral trout bows towards a hole, it means that there is prey inside for them to chase out).

6.They can lie (cleaner wrasse will pretend to be a good cleaner when there is a long queue of fish waiting to be cleaned, when no-one is watching however, they will not clean as well).

7.They will form alliances, recognising good hunting partners and sometimes these alliances will join forces to overthrow the dominant male.