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Hi Awes,

Do fish have emotions? Well, plants seem to have them (apparently). And higher organisms have them.
Whether fish have pain sensory equipment just like ours seems besides the point. They detect injury and respond to it, that's beyond doubt.

Since fish can die from stress (not physical stress, but mental stress), it pretty much indicates they have emotions.
 

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Interesting , the first article goes on at great lengths to support the theory, while the second cuts to the chase, citing responses to bee venom and acetic acid injections.
Having observed encounters between lionfish (volitans and dendrochirus ) and eels, spotted panther grouper and a few other predatory fish, I have seen the aggresors streak away after encounter that most likely caused envenomation, erratic behaviour, ie shaking and spasming, and hiding out for a few days, followed by giving the lion fish wide space after after.
One gets the impression that they have some system of processing that input beyond flight or fight. If there was no pain or other signal alarming they would press on the attack, rather than flee in a frenzy and avoid further contact.
 

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Doug it's the same system that let's them find their way home. If they didn't have it, know it, remember it, and recognize it - they would all be wandering around lost. They wouldn't know or remember what to eat or not eat either. It's the same reason some sponges, algae, things like that have toxins or are just bitter.
Malcomb will try anything he sees me eat first.
 

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Well...ummm.....I did read somewhere that fish dont feel pain, they just react to their environment. But I dont know really.
 

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Being from the PNW I have some familiarity with Salmonoids :) Isn't the theory that they depend on chemical clues to find there way back upstream to their spawning grounds? They may be able to process electromagnetic info on some level to aid in navigation, on a primitive level when compared to say a dolphin using fairly sophisticated echo location as well as all the other tricks. I think the weak point in the argument stated in the first article is that the author relies on the more developed brain of humans as his reference, fish have less developed brains and the parts that we use for this and that are missing or underdeveloped therefore they can't feel pain, etc. This is just my uneduacated theory but I suspect that their brains have adapted to produce some sensation that is interpreted as a danger signal, and pain, whatever that is seems to be a common one.
When a fish is hooked is it just trying to escape and resisting again whats got a hold of it? Or is it because its got this big hooky do stuck in its mouth and it hurts like hell?
What not to eat is prolly a conditioned reponse, but when a lion stings an eel or grouper thers got to be something goping on that tells them, ****, aint trying that again :)
 

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I think Greg made a great point - they do feel fear. And what could fear be except a memory of pain.
Actually, everybody made good points! :)
If they've proved that plants have emotions (which I think they did, at UCLA) then nobody could convince me fish don't have them.
 

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OK then if the nerves retain a memory of an unpleasent sensation, ie scorpionadae envenomation, what was the sensation that the nerve remembered? Wouldn't there be some reaction that the organism senses is not a good thing to repeat?
I know from personal exp that pain signals tell me somethings amiss, and if its really painful, like breaking a leg, it promotes behavior modification to limit repeating that again. It wasn't the wife threatening to boot my butt out or my friends denying me access to motorcycles no more that spurred my decision not to ride anymore. It was the memory of a 4 hr ride to the hospital and the pain and discomfort post surgical that told me NO Mas :)
 

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Have you ever been to the fish house when they cut the heads off and watch them jump around on the floor:D Do you feel pain?
They arnt any different in there nerves than you all animals feel pain!
 

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I remember hearing John McCanne (spelling?) say when asked how he was able to stand the pain he went through as a POW, "I convinced myself to enjoy pain". What this has to do with this discussion I'm not sure:D , probably nothing:p .
Steve
 

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Actually I think that goes along with the point that the author of the first site was trying to prove. Pain is both physialogical and psychological. Humans have the ability to learn to shut down pain thru conditioning or stress. We differ in our tolerences to various painful stimuli, and some are more adept at overcoming them than others
 

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Oh I understand dwelling and trauma, I even know well the relationship between trauma and drama, but I feel we are drifting from the original point.
In my example I pointed out a defensive mechanism of the lionfish, observed reaction in a potential predator, and the behavior exhibited there after. Relating on a human level I think it hurt like hell cause said predator to not want to repeat it, Therefore, based on my experience and translating it to observed reactions, I would say said predator felt something that reinforced the thought, "don't do that again. FWIW I have had same defensive action taken against me, and I don't pet lionfish no more. And no it wasn't the anaphylactic shock and 3 day hospital stay that changed my mind, it was a pain perception that would have lit up the face of the Marquis deSade like a kid on xmas morning ;)
 
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