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What’s the Best Fish to Pose With on Tinder?

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When it comes to dating—particularly bad luck in dating—we often hear that there are “plenty more fish in the sea.” The latest trend on Tinder seems to be taking that old adage quite literally, with 22 percent of the dating app’s male users between the ages of 18 and 35 in Florida posing alongside a recently caught fish in their profile photos.

In light of this data, the folks at FishBrain—a social media network and app for anglers—surveyed more than 1000 members of the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority to determine whether there’s something to this whole “guy with a fish” strategy. Of the young women (who were all in their late teens to mid-20s) surveyed, 46 percent of them kind of liked it.

“In the U.S., many men choose angling photos as their dating app profile picture, and we are naturally keen to celebrate this phenomenon and encourage pride in the world’s most popular hobby,” said FishBrain CEO Johan Attby. “Dating app photos are bringing angling upstream and into the mainstream, so by polling the sorority, we are trying to help single anglers increase their chances of being considered a hot catch.”

In an effort to help these single anglers, FishBrain dug deeper with its survey: The women who gave a thumbs up to the catch-of-the-day pics were then shown a series of 10 photos of specific fish and asked to pick out the most attractive one. Nearly a quarter of the women (21 percent) chose the great northern tilefish (pictured below) as the “most alluring,” with sailfish (18 percent) and African pompano (16 percent) rounding out the top three.

The least attractive fish, according to the women polled, was the “humble” juvenile common carp. The fish, which FishBrain notes is “common in freshwater lakes and large rivers across Europe, Asia, North America, and Australasia, and usually around a length of four to six inches,” earned less than one percent of the vote. Which may suggest that size does matter after all.

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Goldfish Can Get Depressed, Too
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Don’t believe what Pixar is trying to sell you: Fish are not exactly brimming with personality. In aquariums, they tend to swim in circles, sucking up fragments of food and ducking around miniature treasure chests. To a layperson, fish don’t appear to possess concepts of happy, or sad, or anything in between—they just seem to exist.

This, researchers say, is not quite accurate. Speaking with The New York Times, Julian Pittman, a professor at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Troy University, says that fish not only suffer from depression, they can be easily diagnosed. Zebrafish dropped into a new tank who linger at the bottom are probably sad; those who enthusiastically explore the upper half are not.

In Pittman’s studies, fish depression can be induced by getting them “drunk” on ethanol, then cutting off the supply, resulting in withdrawal. These fish mope around the tank floor until they’re given antidepressants, at which point they begin happily swimming near the surface again.

It’s impossible to correlate fish depression with that of a human, but Pittman believes the symptoms in fish—losing interest in exploring and eating—makes them viable candidates for exploring neuroscience and perhaps drawing conclusions that will be beneficial in the land-dwelling population.

In the meantime, you can help ward off fish blues by keeping them busy—having obstacles to swim through and intriguing areas of a tank to explore. Just like humans, staying active and engaged can boost their mental health.

[h/t The New York Times]

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The Shocking Science of Electric Fish
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Like slippery Pokemon, electric eels can produce shocks strong enough to incapacitate large predators. But where do these electric fish get the power to generate such high-voltage attacks?

In a recent video, TED-Ed explains the volatile biology at play. Electric fish like electric eels (which are more closely related to catfish than actual eels) all contain at least one electric organ. This organ is packed with disc-shaped cells called electrocytes. These cells naturally release sodium and potassium ions which create a positive charge inside the cells and a negative charge outside them. But when electric fish send signals from their brains to these organs, it opens up the cells' ion channels, allowing the ions to re-enter. The result is an electrocyte with a positive interior and a negative exterior on one side and a negative interior and a positive exterior on the other—basically a biological battery. Once these cells are charged up, fish can use them to disrupt nearby electric signals, detect other fish, and even paralyze prey.

Fish aren’t the only animals that use electricity to their advantage. The oriental hornet, for example, makes electricity out of sunlight, while some spiders harvest charged particles by coating their webs in electrostatic glue.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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