Smells Funny: Fish schools break up over body odor

By Susan Milius, 15:57 PM April 15, 2008

Just an hour's swim in water lightly contaminated with a common pollutant can turn fish into rejects with an odor that causes their untainted schoolmates to shun them, researchers say.

In a lab test, brief exposure to 4-nonylphenol (4-NP), a surfactant used in many soaps, detergents, and other products, disrupted the normal tendency of banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) to cluster in shoals, says Ashley J. W. Ward, now of the University of Sydney in Australia. Contaminant concentrations we...

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