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The Whole School of Fish Swims Faster If One Gets Drunk

Zebrafish

It is commonly known that when a single fish was drunk, it would swims faster than it used to do. However, if such drunken fish was thrown into a tank with sober fish, what consequence is expected for that? The fact is that such fish would swim even more quickly than when it was single by itself. And more surprisingly, the whole school would speed up as well. The sober fish would try to catch up the soused fish to be the leader with uncontrolled fin-flapping.

According to the study by Maurizio Porfiri, the researcher from New York University, this result was amazing to all. It was clearly shown that the sober] fish were competing with the alcohol-exposed fish at the same swimming speed. Such correlation was quite strong at an intermediate level of alcohol exposure in particular. Given the situation of the high or low levels of alcohol exposure, the influence would be much decreased. With high concentrations, the very drunk fish were so sluggish that they had the problem in catching up with the rest of the school.

The reason for that is the impact of alcohol on zebrafish in a solitary or a social environment is relatively different. The drunken behavior of a single fish can affect the whole group, which have drawn special attention from the researchers majoring alcoholism and sociality.

In addition, such fact also demonstrates how uncontrolled and aggressive behavior can simply resemble leadership in this species. In the situation in which such fish are not really aware whether it is the school leader, or just a drunk a fish. In this case, the individual would swim more quickly around its shoal mates, partly because it became more interested in interacting with them, similar things do happen when a shy human drink too much alcohol.

In his another study, Maurizio Porfiri also found that in the normal case, zebrafish are scared of a robotic fish which are regarded as one of their predators. However, But when they’ get drunk, they would not seem afraid of the artificial aliens.

Journal reference: Ladu, Fabrizio, et al. “Sociality Modulates the Effects of Ethanol in Zebra Fish.”Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (2014).

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