Photo of Fish Using a Rock to Open a Clam

Posted on July 11, 2011  Comments (6)

photo of a blackspot tuskfish using a rock to crack open a clam

Blackspot tuskfish using a rock to crack open a clam. Photo by Scott Gardner

Diver Snaps First Photo of Fish Using Tools

While exploring Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, professional diver Scott Gardner heard an odd cracking sound and swam over to investigate. What he found was a footlong blackspot tuskfish (Choerodon schoenleinii) holding a clam in its mouth and whacking it against a rock. Soon the shell gave way, and the fish gobbled up the bivalve, spat out the shell fragments, and swam off. Fortunately, Gardner had a camera handy and snapped what seem to be the first photographs of a wild fish using a tool.

Tool use, once thought to be the distinctive hallmark of human intelligence, has been identified in a wide variety of animals in recent decades…

There have also been a handful of reports of fish cracking open hard-shelled prey, such as bivalves and sea urchins, by banging them on rocks or coral, but there’s no photo or video evidence to back it up, according to Culum Brown, a behavioral ecologist at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and a co-author of the present paper, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Coral Reefs.

The more we learn about animals the more tool use we find. It is continually interesting to see the wide variety of behavior documented.

Related: Bird Using Bait to FishDolphins Using Tools to HuntOrangutan Attempts to Fish with SpearAncient Chimps Used Stone “Hammers”

6 Responses to “Photo of Fish Using a Rock to Open a Clam”

  1. Dan
    July 13th, 2011 @ 4:38 am

    For sure animals are more astute than we think they are. Only when i think of dogs, horses, dolphins etc. I understand that we aren’t the only intelligent life form on Earth.

  2. Andy Nathan
    July 24th, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

    That is amazing how the fish figured out to use the rock as a tool. Like 2001 A Space Odyssey For fish!

  3. Nestor Schrock
    July 27th, 2011 @ 9:04 am

    “Blackspot tuskfish using a rock to crack open a clam”

    This is amazing!It’s true that necessity is the mother of invention. The fish needed to fed himself so he uses the rock to do it.

  4. Laura
    July 27th, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    amazing that the fish uses that rock like a tool, that shws that there are quite a lot of intelligent lifeforms on our planet!

  5. Anonymous
    July 28th, 2011 @ 1:48 am

    This is cool uh, brilliant! First time I’ve seen this, Yeah it’s true some animals are intelligent in some ways. Thank you for sharing it. Awesome blog.

  6. Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    August 21st, 2011 @ 1:05 am

    […] This Asian Elephant, seemed to consider the problem, devise a solution and then go get a stool to reach food that could not be reached without a tool… Kandula seems to be very curious elephant, good for him […]

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