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A Question of Fish (Level 2) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Richard Brown   
Monday, 17 April 2006

Here is a question about fish: how do they eat? They don't have hands, and they don't use forks. So- how do they eat?
Most fish go close to their food, open their mouths, and suck. In this way, their mouths fill with water- and with food. Land animals can't do this, because air is thinner than water, and the effect of sucking is not the same. You can suck better under water.

So- in prehistoric times, when fish first moved onto the land how did they eat? This is a difficult question for evolution.
Now, zoologists at the University of Antwerp in Belgium have found a remarkable fish that can move from water to land when it wants to catch and eat an insect. It eats in a different way from other fish.

Channallabes apus lives in swamps in remote parts of Africa. It has a long flexible neck and specialist vertebrae: when it sees an insect on the land, it moves quickly up out of the water; then it comes down on the insect. The insect is trapped against the round, and the fish can suck it up. Because Channallabes apus has a long flexible neck, it can do this without arms.

The researchers say this is perhaps the same mechanism used by the first vertebrates.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 April 2006 )
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