A blind fish can school

Science  26 Nov 1976:
Vol. 194, Issue 4268, pp. 963-965
DOI: 10.1126/science.982056


Vision is not required in order for fish to school. Five individual saithe, Pollachius virens, were able to join schools of 25 normal saithe swimming in an annular tank, while blinded with opaque eye covers. Test fish maintained position within the school indefinitely and responded to short-term movements of individuals within the school, although quantitative differences in reaction time and schooling behavior were noted. Five fish with lateral lines cut at the opercula were unable to school when wearing opaque eye covers. Although it is unlikely that blind saithe could school in the wild, the constraints of the apparatus permitted a demonstration of a role of the lateral line organ in schooling.