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Catfish can track fish wakes in the dark

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2:46pm, June 6, 2001

Infrared photography has revealed that European catfish can stalk prey by tracking underwater wakes much as hunters on land follow footprints.

This laboratory demonstration marks the first time that scientists have described a fish following another fish's wake in the dark, according to project leader Thomas Breithaupt of the University of Konstanz in Germany. Catfish pick up a trail 10 seconds after a guppy waggles by and pursue that trail for up to 55 guppy body-lengths before striking, Breithaupt and his colleagues reported June 5 in the online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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