Coral trout know when it’s time for team hunting

coral trout and a moray eel

A coral trout (right) can determine the right time to team with a moray eel (left) to find food.

Alex Vail

Coral trout seem to be as good as chimpanzees at knowing when to collaborate. When hunting for food, the trout team with moray eels, which flush tiny fish snacks out of coral crevices if there’s nothing appetizing in the open water. The trout are able to determine which eel is a better hunting partner and select that one for finding food in the future, researchers report September 8 in Current Biology. The results support the idea that a relatively small brain does not prevent some fish from being able to comprehend information as effectively as apes do in situations relevant to their watery habitats, the authors write.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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