Fish survival tactics see growth of extra ‘eye’

New research has found that small prey fish are capable of growing an extra eye on their rear fins to distract predators and increase their chance of survival.

Australian researchers found that after constant threats of being eaten, small fish grow a spot on their fins that looks like an eye.

Experts say that while the extra eye does not actually help the fish to see any better or increase their chance of seeing predators approaching, the change confuses predatory fish by making it difficult to determine which direction their prey is going in.

Coral Reef expert, Oona Lonnstedt found that when young damsel fish were placed in a specially built tank where they were able to see and smell predatory fish without being attacked, they began growing a bigger eye spot while their real eyes would shrink – somehow without hindering their ability to see.

The team of fish enthusiasts also noted that juvenile damsel fish  living on coral reefs surrounded by lots of predators were blessed with five times the survival rate as those fish without the magic eye.

The investigation also found that when placed in proximity to a predator, fish also had other methods of survival such as reducing their activity levels and developing a chunkier body shape to make themselves difficult to swallow.


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