Scientists Debunk 3-Second Memory Myth, Fish Can Remember for 5 Months

Australian scientists have debunked the myth that fish have a three-second memory, they can actually recall information for up to five months.

“Fish can remember prey types for months. They can learn to avoid predators after being attacked once and they retain this memory for several months. And carp that have been caught by fishers avoid hooks for at least a year,” lead author Kevin Warburton said.

The researchers at Charles Sturt University say that three-second rule is “absolute rubbish.” No one is sure where they myth started but you needn’t look any further than Finding Nemo to know it exists–not that I didn’t love Ellen Degeneres’ Dory.

Researchers trained young fish to associate a sound with feeding time. Each time they played that particular sound…the fish would return. They found minnows to be at least as intelligent as rats.

Fish not only remember, they can increase their food-catching skills and even carry out acts of deception. For example, cleaner fish in reef environments act on their best behavior when a larger feeder is nearby.

Warburton said: “What’s fascinating is that they co-operate more with clients when they are being observed by other potential clients. This improves their ‘image’ and their chances of attracting clients.”

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Source: Times / CC BY 2.0


Michael Cozens
Michael Cozens7 years ago

It's incredible how intelligent many animals are. Understanding this intelligence, given their small brain size, could unlock whole new methods of computation.

Sandi N.
Sandi N7 years ago

Beautiful story! I had an aquarium years ago. I had one Angel fish that would get so excited to see me. She would come to the top and stare at me. When I would tap the glass, she would kiss my finger, over and over again! We sure have a lot to learn about all of the beautiful creatures God so lovingly gave our world!

Ashley M.
Ashley M7 years ago

Sparky did remember me!!

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

Now that's just cool!

Gabriel T.
Past Member 7 years ago

Scientists still amaze when they observe that living creatures are, indeed, alive, and realize that they are not simple machines as it is apparently assumed by them. How far are we form understanding life?

Alicia Nuszloch
Alicia N7 years ago

I just can't get enough.. the more animals the better!!!

Adrian Henthorne
Adrian Henthorne7 years ago

Thanks for letting me do the "I was right again...and that means you were wrong again" dance for my hubby and FIL! LOL

Kurt Valentine

I knew fish were intelligent, all animals are.

Jessica S.
Jessica S7 years ago


Richard T.
Richard T7 years ago

Fishinating story. Thanks!