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Jul 02, 2014 07:16 AM EDT

Fish Remember Location of Food Even After 12 Days: Study

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Fish can recollect events, context and associations even 12 days later, according to a new study by the MacEven University.

For the study, the Canadian researchers observed the behaviour of African Cichlids, a popular aquarium species which has previously displayed complex behaviours including aggression. The researchers speculated that these species are capable of demonstrating advanced memory.

They trained fish for about 20 minutes for three days to locate food in a tank and removed them later. When they were reintroduced into the tank after a fortnight, the fish were able to trace the exact location of the food. The researchers discovered the animal's movements and mental power through motion-tracking software.

The researchers said that the fish learn to associate locations with their favoured source of food.

"There are many anecdotes about how smart these fish are. Some people even believe that their cichlids watch television with them. Fish that remember where food is located have an evolutionary advantage over those that do not," Researcher Dr Trevor Hamilton said in a press release.

Hamilton said that since these species remember the precise location of food sources, this would help promote their survival. The food diet of wild cichlids is varied - snails, small fish, insects and plants.

The researchers are now investigating whether the power of fish memories is affected by environmental conditions or pharmacological drugs.

The finding is published in the Society for Experimental Biology.

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