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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Drunk fish are leaders to sober tank mates!



Fish when drunk become hyperactive, swim faster and exhibit aggressive behaviour which elevates them to the status of leader among their sober tank mates, according to a recent study.


The study, carried out by Maurizio Porfiri, an associate professor at the New York University Polytechnic Institute of Engineering, saw shoals of Zebra fish subjected to different alcohol concentrations from 0.25%, 0.5%, and 1%, the highest concentration being about a 0.1% above the legal limit of .08% for people in the US.

As reported by Discover Magazine, earlier studies found that a moderate dose of alcohol makes fish more active, but too much will slow them down, much like a human.
However Porfiri, who previously used a similar technique to prove that drunk zebrafish don’t fear robotic predators, wanted to test how fish exposed to alcohol would behave when surrounded by sober ones.

The results were oddly fascinating with the drunk fish not only swimming faster and becoming more hyperactive than the sober fish, but more aggressive and less afraid of unfamiliar things, much like any scene on a typical night at the pub.

More interesting was that instead of ignoring the zippy Zebra fish, the sober fish chose to follow it around, even speeding up to keep pace.

Porfiri said this could be that drunk fish’s one-on-one interactions with the other fish made the group as a whole move in the same direction or, more likely, that they saw the newly intoxicated fish, with its confident and uninhibited behaviour, as their leader.

He said: “It is likely that the drunk fish’s uninhibited behaviour is perceived as a boldness trait, thus imparting a high social status.”

The very drunkest of the fish however eventually lost its status as leader as it began to lag behind the group due to the “sedative effects” of too much alcohol.

Source: http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/