Eisenbeiser, S., Serbe-Kamp, É., Gage, G. J. et al. 2022. Gills just want to have fun: Can fish play games, just like us? Animals 12(13), 1684.
It is common to observe play in dogs, cats, and birds, but have we been ignoring play in one of the most common house pets of all… fish? Aquarium fish are often used as meditative decoration in family households, but it could be that fish have similarly diverse behavioral repertoires as mammals and birds. To examine this theory, we conducted field tests at local pet stores where a range of aquarium fish species was tested for responsiveness to laser pointer stimuli. Out of 66 species of fish tested, over 80% showed a tendency to be interested in the moving laser spots, particularly red ones. Whether this behavior constitutes play is an active topic of investigation that we examine in this work.