Julidochromis transcriptus have transitive inference

Julidochromis transcriptus

Julidochromis transcriptus “kissi Bemba”. Photo by Dave Hansen

A new study using Julidochromis transcriptus showed that these Tanganyikan cichlids have the ability to make decisions about unknown factors based on experiences and observations. They can conclude the outcome of a fight against an opponent they’ve never fought based on transitive inference. This type of decision making ability was not though possible from fish.

In the experiment, two Julidochromis transcriptus were put together and allowed to fight until a winner was determined. The loser was separated but able to see the fish it fought. If the fish it fought lost to a third fish, the original loser would avoid a confrontation with the third fish. If the original losing fish was put together with a winning fish from a fight it did not witness, it would not avoid confrontation. To read more about this study, see the article in Frontiersin.org.

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