The Orange-Dotted Tuskfish Strikes Back: Movie Shows New Species of Fish Using Tool

AnimalWise Update

Recently, the blackspot tuskfish (Choerodon schoenleinii) became a media sensation when it was captured in photos using a rock as tool to open a clam. Apparently not happy with the print media attention afforded to its relative, the orange-dotted tuskfish (Choerodon anchoago) has taken the behavior to the movies, digging up a clam with its pectoral fin, swimming about five meters with it, and then crushing it open using a rock as an anvil:

As reported in the latest issue of Coral Reefs, a diver off the coast of Palau observed the orange-dotted tuskfish using a rock as a tool on three separate occasions, capturing the above footage on the final instance. The paper notes that three separate genera of wrasses (the Choerodon that have been in the news lately, as well as the Halichoeres and Thalassoma) have now been seen using similar sideways head movements to slam bivalves against rock anvils, suggesting that this may be a “deep-seated behavioral trait” in wrasses and, potentially, other groups of fishes.


ResearchBlogging.orgBernardi, G. (2011). The use of tools by wrasses (Labridae) Coral Reefs DOI: 10.1007/s00338-011-0823-6

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