Welcome to howfishbehave.ca!

This site is for all those people who are generally interested in fishes, such as anglers, hobbyists,
or biology students. The main purpose of the site is to popularize some of the scientific research that has been
done on fish behaviour in recent years.

If you are aware of some information about fish behaviour that I failed to include in these pages and
that could benefit the site, please e-mail me at Stephan.Reebs followed by @umoncton.ca, or provide
me with your comments by following this link.

Please note that the pages below are all pdf documents. If necessary, click on the following image to get Adobe


I hope you will enjoy your visit.

Piscatorially yours!

Stephan Reebs

Fish behavior

  1. Fish trivia I:   Books and links on fish behaviour
    An entry into the literature and some web resources.
  2. Fish trivia II:  What’s behind the name of some fishes?
    For example: Do angelsharks behave beatifically?  What’s a Happy Eddie?  Where does the name “telescopefishes” come from? 
  3. Fish trivia III:  Some records in the fish world.
    From the smallest fish to the largest, shortest-lived to longest, most fecund, most venomous, most vocal, most inflatable, and much more.
  4. Fishes feigning death.
    A deceitful way to fool both predators and prey.
  5. Mobbing in fishes.
    Harassment of predators to make them go away.
  6. Can fishes build things?
    Yes! Fishes are no great architects, but some of them can be quite industrious. When’s the last time YOU carried 200,000 pieces of coral rubble in your mouth to build a mound?
  7. Tool use in fishes
    Don’t expect too much: only two known examples.
  8. “Handedness” in fishes
    When it comes to eye use, fin use, or lateral line use, more and more species are found to favour one side of their body over the other.
  9. Cooperation in fishes
    Examples of teamwork in the fish world. Cooperation during hunting, parenting, and predator inspection.
  10. Social intelligence in fishes
    Fishes can remember various characteristics of their neighbours and shoalmates. They use this information in intelligent ways. This section covers third-party relationships, deception, manipulation, eavesdropping, audience effects, recognition of former cooperators or competitors, the dear enemy effect, and learning from others.
  11. Long-term memory in fishes
    Some examples of memories that last for weeks, months, or even years.
  12. Fishes in space
    Many fishes have travelled to outer space – kidnapped by aliens that look eerily like humans. Find out what happened to them. Learn also about motion sickness in fishes, as well as the dorsal light response.
  13. How do fishes react to total solar eclipses?
    Do they react as if night is coming, even in the middle of the day?
  14. Sleep in fishes
    Indeed, many fishes do sleep, but you have to be mindful of how you define sleep, and aware of many situations where fishes in fact do not seem to sleep at all.
  15. Oxygen and fish behaviour
    The various effects of low oxygen levels:  increased ventilation of gills, decreased activity, aquatic surface respiration, air breathing (did you know that some fishes absolutely need to breathe air and will drown if confined to water?), winterkill, increased risk of predation, bringing oxygen to the eggs.
  16. How do parasites affect fish behaviour?
    More precisely:  how do fishes avoid becoming parasitized, and how do parasites change the behaviour of their hosts?
  17. The sex lives of fishes
    Beware, this is a long document.  It is, after all, a fascinating topic. Read about kleptogamy (sneaking), sperm competition and sperm economy, territorial satellites, forced copulations, threesomes, sex changes, sex determination, social influences on sex maturation, hermaphroditism (being two sexes), parthenogenesis (virgin birth), and homosexual behaviour.
  18. Are fishes good parents?
    Another long document. Uniparental versus biparental care, helpers at the nest, male versus female care, costs and benefits of care, moving the eggs, “broken wing” display, cuckoos, feeding the young, signalling danger to the young, fry retrieving, brood mixing, filial cannibalism, parental investment.
  19. Aggression in fishes
    Dominance hierarchies, territorial behaviour, and the things that make some fishes good fighters.
  20. How fishes try to avoid predators
    They do it by switching habitat, reducing conspicuous behaviour, hiding through camouflage, becoming more vigilant, and altering the timing of activity.
  21. How fishes find their way around
    Feats of home finding, orientation by sun compass (including UV light detection), magnetic and electric compasses, orientation by smell and sound, recognition of landmarks.