I kind of picked bass randomly.... :) I highly doubt fish actually think the
way I illustrated. However, I am certain that there has to be differential
behaviour as you mention among individuals. I'd be especially interested to see
if this varies regionally as well as between individuals: do, for example,
smallmouth in areas with high populations of madtoms have a higher resistance
than those in areas where there are no madtoms?
IF you do get around to a literature search, let me know what you find.
> J.W., do you know of any studies that suggest that bass respond in this way
> -- ie., that there are differential responses to madtom envenomation such
> that some individual bass drop the prey, and that others eat the prey and
> then go looking for another of the same? And do we actually have data that
> support a hypothesis that fish feeding is mediated through "thinking" of the
> sort that you mention?
> Fish predatation and behaviors related to it have been extensively studied,
> but I have never seen any data suggesting this behavior in bass toward
> madtoms. A good many species of fishes include individual prey specialists,
> which is a matter of learning, so I suppose it is possible that some bass are
> madtom specialists; smallmouths do eat them. I would predict, however, that
> they are eaten in proportion to their availability to bass, or perhaps
> somewhat less frequently. Determining availability is a tricky thing.
> Usually, the closest we can come to it is to determine relative abundance of
> But the point about evolution is well taken. I will investigate to see if I
> can find any data in the literature that suggest an immunity to madtom venom
> in bass.
> David L. McNeely, Ph.D., Professor of Biology
> Langston University; P.O. Box 1500
> Langston, OK 73050; email: dlmcneely-in-lunet.edu
> telephone: (405) 466-6025; fax: 405) 466-3307
> home page http://www.lunet.edu/mcneely/index.htm
> "Where are we going?" "I don't know, are we there yet?"
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