Hey Fish! Urine Trouble!

Some people might yell, a dog might growl, maybe a deer will clash antlers, but how does the fish (cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher) show aggression?

It pees.

That’s right, twinkle, urinate, take a leak, wizz, whatever you would like to call it that’s how it shows it’s the toughest fish in the tank.

Source: https://68.media.tumblr.com/b89eb712e3dbff7dc065164d2c6519cf/tumblr_nwt08l6dRd1tiaz2oo1_500.jpg

WHY IT MATTERS?

Communication between animals is still relatively hard concept to grasp, with such varying methods and mixed signals between species and populations.

It is however one of the most beneficial ways in learning about our own human qualities.

A great example being the work done by de Waal on chimpanzees and monkeys have shown the importance of cooperation in social groups providing a new perspective on viewing behaviour in humans.

Also, understanding the behaviour of animals can be extremely helpful under conditions where conservation of animals and environment sustainability is threatened.

Also, understanding the behaviour of animals can be extremely helpful under conditions where conservation of animals and environment sustainability is threatened.

THE RESEARCH

A study by three experts from Switzerland involved recording how much and for how long a fish urinated for and what displays of aggression were displayed by rival fish.

The scientists placed two fish in a tank with two barriers, one clear and another opaque and by injecting dye into anaesthetised fish, their pee turned a bright blue colour that was visible in the water.

Bigger fish produced more urine in volume and frequency, however it was interesting to discover that fish urinated the most when they saw the competing fish on the other side of the barrier suggesting sighting of a rival triggers pee impulses.

THE IMPACT

Fish are the only beginning of an endless list of animals that might be showing different behaviour that isn’t physical and can become a new source of knowledge in social interactions amongst species.

This new research can be the start of a new area into animal chemical communication and uncovering unusual behaviours and phenomena witnessed in animals, and possibly our own human chemical cues.

Other research also shows that fish urine contain ammonium and phosphorous which helps coral reefs grow, a crisis that may be solved particularly in our own backyard’s Great Barrier Reef.

WHAT’S NEXT?

For such a new area of research, there’s still a lot to uncover and many more fish in the sea to watch pee. However, you can begin by letting people know how fish communicate, by educating yourself about animal communication.

  • For more information on animal communication topic click here
  • For more about fish pee saving corals click here
  • To thank the team for watching fish pee email here, (or just ask some questions)

It begs the question whether humans ourselves have undiscovered chemicals warding off perhaps certain individuals or perhaps encouraging fighting fish to urinate will save the world one day.

Or just another reminder that peeing in public pools doesn’t make you any new friends, and was never a good idea to begin with.

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