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Old 09-19-2011, 02:28 AM   #1 
Luimeril
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Can bettas mourn?

i know it's one of those things that go back and forth, about how bettas either do, or don't feel emotions as we do, but my crew has made me think long and hard about that.

last year, i had a female crowntail named Freya. she was a little thing, and looked like she had plenty of room in a half-gallon bowl, which i housed her in at first because she was so tiny. i had to crush her pellets, until a member on another forum gave me some New Life Spectrum Grow pellets. after getting her on those, she grew a little bit, but still remained pretty small. she soon moved to a 2 gallon Kritter Keeper, which she ADORED to no end! throughout her life, she lived next to Cup, with a barrier between them, but i'd remove it a few times a day to give them exercise, and i noticed a difference in them both. Cup's flaring turned from aggressive, to flirty, to just showing off and not even flaring at all.

well, last Halloween, Freya passed away from unknown causes. it was bloat-related, i know that, but i never figured out what did it. she'd get fatter every now and then, but i was told it was just her being eggy, so i never thought much of it. after she passed, i noticed a change in Cup. the barrier was removed, but no one was there, and i could tell he noticed that. after that, his flaring was always aggressive, to the point that he'd ram the side of his tank, so i had to be careful about how long i let him flare. he'd also not flare at all for females, and would just swim to the other side of his tank and ignore them.

then, with Theo's recent passing, i've noticed a change in HIS neighbor, Ichi. Ichi's the delta i got, soon after the Tsunami in Japan, and named after my friend, who was MIA for weeks before they found him, thankfully alive. Ichi and Theo lived next to each other, with no barrier between them. i made that choice, after seeing that Ichi didn't mind Theo at all. when i changed everyone up, i noticed how depressed Ichi was, and moved him back to his spot soon after losing Cup. Ichi stopped his tail biting when he was back in his spot, but started up again after Theo passed, to an extent i'd only seen in Dante, my first Delta.

that makes me think.... did Cup mourn the loss of Freya? is Ichi mourning the loss of Theo? if not, then why the sudden, drastic changes in them, after losing their neighbors? i know animals CAN mourn, but can Bettas mourn?
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:20 PM   #2 
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I think so. My friend, had a male and female betta TOGETHER who lived harmoniously. :o first, that was a shock. But sadly, the female died (not because of the male, but because of an internal problem) and the male would not eat, would not show his pretty colors, wouldn't flare, and just.... hid. He refused to come out of hiding except for air, then four days after his lady died he died, without a physical problem, or water problem, or anything ):

even my female Madame, loves her Spartan. she tried getting out of her container and back to his tank D: of course, she missed -.- but she tried. It was so weird.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:38 PM   #3 
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i doubt they lived in perfect harmony. >.> they might have tolerated each other, but a male and female can't live together without scuffles.

in the case of your friend's bettas, it's entirely possible they were sick. they were probably stressed, which caused them to be more likely to get sick.

not saying your wrong, but in my mind, what happened with your friends' bettas, and Cup and Ichi, are different in that matter. x:
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:42 PM   #4 
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I don't believe they have the mental faculties for that emotion. I'm not really sure that higher mammals like dogs and cats have that faculty although I'm more inclined to believe so.

Two fish together, one dying right after the other signals infectious illness to me, not all illnesses are external also.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:54 PM   #5 
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And how come my female literally tried getting to my male's tank? she has never done such a thing. Ever. And he likes to show off to her, all the time.

So, dogs are incapable of caring for another dog, as a fish cannot care at all?

I think fish can care, or at least show some signs of something. But hey, until they fish can speak to you we are BOTH wrong.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:59 PM   #6 
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Well....actually there is science. Science exists with testing and some answers.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:00 PM   #7 
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Perhaps she tried to get in there to kill him or on the off chance to breed with him. Perhaps he is guarding his territory from her.

There's no question that these are semi-intelligent fish but science has not proven that they are evolved enough to possess complex emotions.

I'm sure dogs feel some form of sadness when a family member is lost or leaves but no, I do not believe that they possess the capabilities to miss someone or something. Just like if I gave away my dog, whom I've loved and cared for for the past 5 years, she might wonder why she's in a new place but she wouldn't miss me. Remember me... probably so... miss me.. no so much.

Anthropomorphizing is attaching human like qualities to animals who simply don't posses them. It doesn't mean the animals are worthless or that we are better than them... just that they don't have as complex thought processes as we do.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:02 PM   #8 
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I have no idea the extent to which betta feel emotion. But I know they must feel SOMETHING to have those reactions to losing neighbors. Even if that wasn't true, you know they love attention from their owners. It could be just food motivation, but I believe my fish get excited to see me and they follow me around all the time. They get bored and angry just like we do too.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:02 PM   #9 
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males WILL show off to females. all the time. every chance they get. Cup, was a very odd exception after Freya died, but Zidane shows off to girls, Scout does, Dante LOVED showing off.... it's a natural male betta thing. as for Madam, females jump. Lulu does it all the time. it's a betta thing. she doesn't necessarily want to jump into HIS tank for a reason, other than being with a male, or getting at another betta.

it's been proven that dogs mourn. as well as whales, elephants, tigers. but, they all have something over our beloved bettas. they have more complex, and MUCH bigger brains than bettas. sure, they're very smart fish. Theo proved that when he learned how to live with his blindness. but, it doesn't quite mean they can mourn.

i was just curious, since both Cup, and now Ichi, changed their behaviors so drastically after Freya, then Theo, died.... is it mourning, or something else entirely?
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:09 PM   #10 
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She doesn't try to "kill" him she is a submissive giant. That's all been there done that figured it out.

But okay, why ask if "bettas can mourn" if you "know" they cannot? Just saying.
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