• TONMOCON VII Announced | MBL at Woods Hole | Apr 6-8, 2018
  • Thanks for visiting! TONMO is the world's greatest online cephalopod enthusiast community, with interactive content going back to May of 2000, and a biennial conference. If you'd like to join in on the fun, become a TONMO member -- it's easy and free. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more cephy goodness.

This is the first ever photo of a fish using tools


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Jul 9, 2009
South Florida
its not ceph news but it is pretty interesting.

This is the first ever photo of a fish using tools


This blackspot tuskfish, found in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, held a clam in its mouth and smashed it against a rock to reach the food inside. This photo is the first incontrovertible proof that fish are capable of tool use. While tool use was once seen as a uniquely human behavior, decades of..



Haliphron Atlanticus
Sep 25, 2006
The "uniquely human" tool use thing defined "tool" as an object that was made, by the animal, and then used in a pre-planned way. Sea gulls, otters, and others ,had long been known to break clams on rocks to break them, but simply used what was at hand, it didn't count as using tools. That was part of the reason Jane Goodall's observations of chimps in 1960 caused such a stir, because the chimps were seen selecting appropriately sized twigs, and stripping the leaves off of them before using them to "fish" for termites in termite hills. Before that, humans were thought to be the only tool makers. In the lab, crows have bent a straight wire to use as a hook to get food, which also counts as tool making (damn smart birds crows).

It isn't tool making, and I don't know if a rock qualifies as a tool, but it still seems rather impressive for an animal as unintelligent as a fish to get the idea of bashing a clam against a rock. The next question is: is this behavior instinct (like when a bird builds a nest) or is it the result of an individual animal's creative thinking (problem solving).

Members online