Science Interviews


Tue, 26th May 2015

The Sticklebacks Return...

Jolle Jolles, Department of Zoology, Cambridge University

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This week we're asking what's the most amazing animal? Jolle Jolles, a PhD student at the department of Sticklebackzoology at Cambridge University, explained to Ginny Smith why sticklebacks deserve to be crowned kings of the animal world. Here returns to an experiment he set up earlier...

 Ginny - Now, itís very nearly time for our final scores but before we do that, we need to go back to Jolle and see how your fish have done. So, if you remember, right at the beginning, we had some sort of goldish-brown coloured fish and we put half of them in a black tank and we put half of them in a white tank. What are they looking like now?

Jolle - They're very hard to find now, so it takes me a while maybe.

Ginny - What can you see?

George - One fish is black and the other one is white.

Ginny - So, they do look really different now, donít they?

Jolle - You can see that in this just one hour, these fish looked totally different from one another. And this is really great because this helps them to be camouflaged against their background. It helps them that all these predators that are out there will not find them as easily.

Ginny - So, if you look at them from the side, you can see almost stripes of black on the one thatís been in the black tank whereas the white one is just very pale. Most of the colour seems to be focused on the top half of the fish. Their undersides, their tummies, are still kind of silvery. Why is that?

Jolle - Most predators are actually aerial. Imagine herons standing next to a creek. So, these birds, they look down. They try to find these fish. But if you look at them from above, this is when you see their back and this is the most camouflaged part.

Ginny - Do you want to show the judges and see if theyíll give you an extra point?

George - No.

Ginny - What about you Max?

Georgia - This is a tough judge. I'm impressed.

Max - The experiment works. Heíll definitely get his bonus point.

Ginny - One more bonus point for Jolle and then you the audience are going to make the final decision as to who the winner is out of our top 3. So Heather, can we have the final tally? Who are our top 3 animals?

Heather - So, our extra stickleback point didnít actually change,  they didnít make the top 3. We have the moles dug in for victory with 26, but the bats swooped in for a tie-breaker and also have 26, with the caterpillars just crawling slightly behind - 25.5.


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