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Why Fish Like Space & How to WIN a DVD

Why Fish Like Space & How to WIN a DVD

Posted 28 September 2011   by Jesse         Permalink | 47 Comments

Tags: fish, giveaway, oceans, cuttlefish, film

I'm excited to let you know that we've got a copy of the stunning Oceans DVD to give away. So read on to find out how you could be checking out some of the most amazing animals under the sea.

Don't you agree, there's something nice about watching fish swim? You know at first glance it's easy to believe there isn't too much thinking going on upstairs in fish, but keep watching and it's amazing how you start to notice how each animal has her own personality and quirks.

A lot of people seem to find watching fish calming -- or more precisely, see fish as a calming 'decoration'. Why else would so many houses and offices install fish tanks, and why else would Google offer this very cute gadget (below). But to be honest, I much prefer watching fish swim in their natural environment -- not a fish tank. And not surprisingly, it turns out fish prefer this too.

Researchers recently compared the behaviour of fish in the wild; in a large artificial 'stream' in a zoo; and in smaller tanks used by pet owners. What they found is that the smaller the tank, and the less 'complex' (ie. no rocks, plants, hiding places, etc) the tank was the more aggressive the fish became -- sometimes even escalating to nipping and attacking other fish.

When you think about it, it's not really that surprising. If you put me in a small empty room, I'd be pretty annoyed as well. Obviously, like us fish feel pain. And when you consider all the other amazing things scientists have discovered about fish, it makes sense that they might experience boredom and frustration too.

For example, did you know that fish communicate with each other using squeaks and squeals that you and I can only hear with special instruments? Or that in some species the older fish teach the youngens -- about things like predators, and even to recognise the sound of trawling boats. Or that some fish use tools... such as stingsrays working out how to extract food from plastic tubes by shooting jets of water; or blackspot tuskfish using a rock to open a clam's shell.

And don't even get me started on how cool cuttlefish are (although technically they're not a fish)! Ahem ... I guess what I'm trying to say is: Sea animals is pretty amazing! And there's a whole lot more going on upstairs in the animals that live down below than we often give them credit for.

Oceans DVD Giveaway!

The Disney doco, Oceans, is about to be released on DVD and we have a copy that could be yours. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below and tell us one good reason people should care about fish.

UPDATE You guys are all so awesome for knowing how awesome fish are! These responses are all fabulous! Unfortunately there can only be one winner ..... And the DVD goes to *drumroll* Liz2! Well done Liz! And massive THANK YOUs to everyone for entering!

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Close Encounters With a Cuttlefish

Close Encounters With a Cuttlefish

Posted 14 September 2010   by Sim         Permalink | 8 Comments

Tags: cuttlefish, fish, diving, oceans, video

Not long ago I took some friends to a favourite diving place of mine in Melbourne called Cottage by the Sea. This particular place has deep overhangs and crevices that provide shelter and feeding ground for lots of ocean life. It's home to one of the most inquisitive and cute 'fish' (actually an invertebrate, like an octopus) in the world - the Cuttlefish.

Imagine a creature that can change colour and texture on demand, can hover, shoot forward or backwards and has eyes that can look into your soul. A cuttlefish is SO much more than a piece of calcium washed up on the beach. This vid will give you a better picture:

One of my favourite things to do when diving is poke my head into the caves in the reef and see how fish are spending their day. I was doing exactly this when all of a sudden a large cuttlefish shot out and grabbed one of our air gauges with his tentacles! (Cuttlefish use their tentacles to explore things, just like we might pick something up with our hands.) The gauge was bright yellow and he was flashing different colours trying to match it. He seemed highly fascinated with the colour and shape of the gauge. Then he suddenly let go and hovered right near my friend's mask, having a good long look at her. Cuttlefish can actually make eye contact!

Our playful cuttle then moved on to another diver in our group who was quite nervous about the strange creature in front of him. I think the cuttle sensed this and actually toyed with him. The cuttlefish would dart forward; the diver would back up and the cuttle would raise four of his tentacles above his head and lower the other ones in a really funny gesture.

Then the cuttle moved towards me. He gently touched my raised hand with his tentacles before hovering up to my mask to look me in the eye!

We watched for a long while as the cuttle moved away from us. But when we decided to move on, I turned back a few times to see him slowly following us, watching us the whole time.

When we surfaced we couldn't stop talking about our cuttle encounter. We felt he was communicating with us and that we were lucky to be in the presence of such an intelligent creature.

I have no doubt that most sea creatures feel pain, and since this experience with the cuttle (who are directly related to squids) my friends haven't eaten any calamari. It's often the case that people won't knowingly contribute to the killing of an animal they feel empathy for. So why should our marine creatures be any different?

I love retelling this story because I know people who hear it will never look at cuttle bones on the beach the same way again. Would this kind of experience stop you eating squid or cuttlefish? Or have you given up seafood altogether?

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