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Big Blue Conservation - A Team Effort!

Yellow saddle goatfish work together to catch their dinner, according to scientists. When an individual chases its prey around a coral formation, others gather around to block escape routes. The unusual co-ordinated behaviour was observed by scientists in the Red Sea, off the coast of Egypt. Yellow saddle goatfish (Parupeneus cyclostomus) are tropical fish found in the Indo-Pacific region, an area that is thought to be home some of the world's richest marine life. They have long whisker-like "barbels" protruding from their mouths, which they use to detect the movements of prey in coral reefs.

         

"The evidence is growing and growing that fish can show astonishing behaviours” Prof Redouan Bshary, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland The fish are known to live in groups that are based on their size rather than family relationships, with similarly sized fish forming groups. When a single goatfish chased its prey, the rest of the group worked together as a team to ensure its success: "Blockers" spread out across the coral formation to prevent the prey from escaping while the "chaser" pursued its target. Similar behaviour has only been identified in a handful of species - primarily mammals including chimpanzees, orcas, lions and dolphins, but also birds. Very few fish have been seen to "work together". If you fancy seeing this for yourself, Koh Tao has many goat fish species, including the Indian.