Fish Behavior in the Aquarium and in the Wild

Fish Behavior in the Aquarium and in the Wild

by Stephan Reebs


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A home aquarium seems a peaceful place. Gazing at its inhabitants as they swim slowly through their small universe is a soothing, even hypnotic, experience. But this seeming tranquillity is only surface deep. Like their wild counterparts, these tiny, glittering beings exhibit a wide array of fascinating behaviors.

Stéphan Reebs provides a delightfully entertaining, yet scientifically grounded, look at what fishes do and how they do it. From defending their young, to seeking out the perfect sexual partner, to telling time, fishes display a variety of behaviors that may not be readily apparent to the casual observer. Reebs not only describes the behaviors, but also outlines simple experiments that can be performed by observers wishing to learn for themselves just how resourceful—and bizarre—these creatures can be.

Fish Behavior in the Aquarium and in the Wild introduces us to damselfishes that sing like birds, elephantfishes that communicate electrically, and sticklebacks that deceive other fish into believing they have found food. Drawing on the experimental evidence behind such intrinsically interesting responses, Reebs demonstrates how science is conducted in the field of animal behavior.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801487729
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 10/02/2001
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Stéphan Reebs is Professor of Biology at the University of Moncton, Canada. He has published numerous articles on animal behavior.

What People are Saying About This

George W. Barlow

"Fish Behavior is a charming book about the ways fishes perceive the world around them and make use of that information. Stephan Reebs has an impressive command of the relevant literature. His selection of topics is unique while still covering most of the major issues in fish behavior. Especially strong is his treatment of predator-prey relationships, which comes up repeatedly within different topics. Stephan Reebs writes in a clear style and does so with a light touch. Fish Behavior will engage and enlighten the reader with an interest in the natural history of animals."

Dr. Wayne S. Leibel

"A lucid, riveting, and provocative introdu ction to fish behavior. Aquarists will never watch their fish in quite the same way again after reading this book."

William Rowland

"Reebs provides a nice sampling of the many fascinating aspects of fish behavior and describes the experimental methods scientists use to study this topic. He writes in a style accessible to students and non-scientists, yet provides many recent references for those who wish to delve into the primary literature."

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Fish Behavior in the Aquarium and in the Wild 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Did Longfellow learn anything when he locked himself in at Walden centuries ago? There is much to be said for naval gazing, among the least of which is why it is there. Inevitably, the answer provokes a reflection of why the cord must be cut between parent and child at all, and whether the symbolism of the cut is consistent with Biblical intentions. When the cord is cut, perhaps social incubation should occur rather than expecting parents to provide for an infant. Perhaps it becomes a 'social responsibility' of all humans into which the fledgling arrives in their midst - ready to be imprinted with the values of the culture into which he or she is born. In essence, all humans are like fish, the size of the acquarium irrelevant except to remain focused upon the business and values of life, and how far and wide we swim. Whether humans, like fish, encounter other 'bigger' fish who can be expected to eat them is another story, and one that has too often proven to have negative outcomes, at least for the humans among us who consider us small. That we 'invented' the Constitution and Bill of Rights to protect against that problem is admirable, but if it isn't used, self help is likely the only option which generally means not swimming among big fish at all to protect against being eaten. That this might reflect the 'death of the soul' as the opposite of the freedom we, as humans, preach is the objective, reminding ourselves of the necessity of freedom is helpful unless as big fish, we feel entitled to roam and eat smaller ones. Could such persons be considered 'predatory'? Prisons were invented for predatory persons, but not until they've wounded, maimed, or killed the prey they feel justified to. The never ending cycle of predators upon prey, the thrilling stories of how life reconciles itself - no government necessary. Then why pay for government, if not to curb our natural predatory instincts? Perhaps Longfellow was right to enter his artificial sanctuary, free from our predatory world. No religion on earth has ever been adequate to prevent such negligent killing, but it has done a lot to rationalize its justification. That we fail to curb our animal instincts so possessed of Darwin says much about us as fish, however, and the reality that the world might be intended to live up to the Biblical responsibility of allowing the 'higher brained' species to organize and control the supposedly 'lower brained' ones is a distinct possibility that we typically fail to execute very well. Detecting the need for a reality check of human relations, Longfellow's retreat was his effort at self preservation and survival - a time out from life's rougher realities - perhaps to restore his faith in mankind, if possible, available to all who sense that 'the world is too much with us,' decidedly an intrusion upon the sanctity of the soul, and the equilibrium of God's creatures and how they relate to one another. Perhaps mankind should be smart enough to demand such retreats for humans in the form of time to pursue such honorable and worthy quests. To date, we don't succeed well at that either.