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Old March 16th, 2014, 06:45 PM   #1
robertprice
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Default Are Flowerhorns Self Aware (and do they learn evil stuff on Fearnet)?

Self-awareness in living things is generally defined as introspection that allows an animal to know it's existence is distinct from others and its it's environment. The standard Mirror Test of self awareness has been passed only by humans, grerat apes, bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, elephants, and Corvid birds (Magpies and Crows). The test is generally done by placing a dot or marking on the animal in a place it can't see except in the mirror, and waiting to see if it knows the marking is on it's own body, or that there is a stranger in the mirror. Pigs have passed a variation of the test, as 7 of 8 found a food bowl that was behind them by looking in the mirror.

My large 4 year old female Gold Fader Flowerhorn, who has been twice spurned by potential suitors, now hates males, and tries to bite the one next to her through the divider every day. (She once even jumped into his side of the tank and beat him up.) She also spits rocks at him, and tries to push the divider over. She lives in a cave which she excavated behind 2 large flat vertical rocks right up against the back of the tank and in full view of the bottom of my bedroom mirror. Every time she goes in, she sees herself swimming in the mirror. All the time she spends there, she is looking right at herself. She does react to her image at all. She does not consider it an antagonist and is not afraid of it, in fact, she usually brings her food there to eat it. So, is she self aware? Did she learn her nasty behaviors from watching horror movies? She would bite me if I tried to put a dot on her.
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Old March 16th, 2014, 07:43 PM   #2
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Maybe your flowerhorn thinks its another female? She does sound like a real character. I have one about two years old that i rescued from my niece,pretty sure it was bought from a local fishstore. Don't know if its male/female. They say Marilyn Monroe would stop abruptly when seeing her reflection,as if in wonder.

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Old March 17th, 2014, 01:15 PM   #3
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About 80-90% of the time you can establish gendert by hump size, as long as the fish is at least 5-6 inches long. Females do have very small humps, but only a very poor quality male would have a 3/8 inch hump. Older females get quite long dorsal streamers, so that's not reliable in all cases.

I checked last night, and her right eye is less than 2 inches from its reflection in the mirror. When I purchased her, she was in a large community tank with lots of Red Devils and Rose Queens and several other medium sized Flowerhorns, and she chased any one that came near her.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 07:18 PM   #4
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HTML Code:
http://forum.brooklynaquariumsociety.org/picture.php?albumid=13&pictureid=71
We had an oscar that lived 15 years in a 55 gal. at work. He had a very entertaining personality, sure seemed aware of who he was.

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Old March 18th, 2014, 08:34 PM   #5
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Oscars and many other cichlids are very smart. However, most monkeys have trouble passing the Mirror Test. It's my feeling that since my Flowerhorn tries to bite her tank mate several times every day, she knows that the mirror image is her, not him.
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