Have you seen fish using tools? Let us know!

🕵️ What to look for?

A fish uses a hard surface to help it open a hard-shelled prey item (such as a sea urchin or shell).

After grabbing the prey in its mouth, the fish slams it quickly and repeatedly on the hard surface until it breaks.

Check the videos below for examples.

Extract from the BBC documentary Blue Planet II
Video by R. Dunn

🕵️ Where to look for?

Wherever there are fish! In coral reefs, in aquariums, in kelp forests...

🕵️ What to do?

If you have seen this striking behaviour, try to remember the species/genus/family of the fish.

➡️ And then fill this participation form or send me an email at juliette.tarieladam@gmail.com ⬅️

Any information is helpful, so don't hesitate, even if you have no idea about the fish species.

If you have never seen this behaviour, open your eyes 🧐 You might see a fish using a rock as a tool very soon.

🕵️ What will you contribute for?

The use of tools allows fish to access food resources that would otherwise be inaccessible to it. It would not have been able to break open these prey items using only its mouth and teeth. Given the high advantages of tool use, why did not all fish has evolved it?

In the research project, your participation would help determining all fish species that use anvils so we can (1) find out whether this behaviour evolved once or several times in the evolutionary history of fish, and (2) test hypotheses about the factors driving the evolution of tool use, such as that tool use only evolves in species with large brains.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any comments or would like to get more involved.

Video by A. Harborne and B. Tholan