Which is the smartest fish?

In relative terms, I suppose.

The 6-year-old brought up Octopi this morning as being truly smart (I showed her some videos a while back regarding octopus tricks and such) but Lady Chance and I debated that they didn’t actually count as ‘fish’. So we were stuck.

Now we’re using the web to determine which fish is actually smartest in some testable sense.

And I turn to you, my friends. Is there any sort of work done on which fish species has the highest intelligence/problem solving ability/whatever?

Abe Vigoda?

Well, here and here the text mentions the cichlid. From the first site:

From the second site:

Perhaps this is not definitive but it might be a starting point for you.

I know that the plural of anecdote isn’t data, but it’s often repeated that once a largemouth bass is caught on a certain type of lure that they may never bite on the same thing again. It’s certainly true that lakes receiving heavy fishing pressure begin to produce less bites, even when catch and release is practiced regularly.

I have often been subjected to fly fishermen waxing on about the intelligence of the trout, but that is usually my signal to check out of that particular conversation…

The one I can’t catch…

In all honesty, Cichlids (of which the Largemouth Bass is the largest), are probably the most likely candidate.

The reality is I have caught and released many Bass that have been caught and released before that… so one has to wonder about their overall inteliigence.

And while, in tank conditions, they can certainly begin to recognize certain ‘lures’ and respond accordingly, in real life, nature doesn’t afford an opportunity to be picky about ones food items… and studies have shown that 15 minutes seems to be the ‘memory span’.

However, the Tackle Manufacturing Community would rather us believe that these fish remember every lure that comes by, so you’d better have more stuff to catch them with.

Never have I spent so much in the pursuit of a critter with the brain the size of a nickel, just to catch him, pet him, and RELEASE him! (and then go to Mcdonalds for a fish sandwich!!!)

Nobody’s out there passing out number two pencils to the fish, so it’s hard to say. Among game fish, the muskellunge is said to be pretty darned wily. There’s no dishonor in fishing for muskie all day, and not even seeing one.

This is not a scientific answer, of course, and there might not be one available.

Isador Fisch maybe?

Oddly enough largemouth bass (micropterus salmoides) aren’t actually “bass” in the true sense, they’re actually the largest members of the sunfish (centrarchidae) family (including bluegills, redears, and crappie). Only “true” bass (moronidae), such as the peacock bass, striped bass, and the sea bass belong grouped as cichlids.

I had a Jack Dempsey that was amazing. He definitely recognized different people and responded differently to them. I swear he liked girls more than guys. He would casually look back at women watching him, but would react in an agitated manner when men looked at him. He would lunge at them and try to back them off. He knew when it was feeding time and would raise a ruckus if I was in the room when it was feeding time and I wasn’t bringing him food. “Hey dood, it’s time to feed me!” If the cat was sitting next to the tank and watching him, he would gather gravel in his mouth and “spit” it at the cat. Seemed pretty smart to me.

Asking “Which is the smartest fish?” is like asking “Which is the prettiest freeway overpass?” or “Who was the greatest U.S. Vice President?”.

The fish who go to fish school? Anyway, I vote for bettas, mine are amazingly clever. Isn’t there something about how predators are always smarter than herbivores?