Awe-Inspiring! Watch This School of Fish Swim in a Tornado-Like Formation

From murmuration in birds and swarming in insects to shoaling in fish, this is a collective animal behavior that has long fascinated people.

For humans, to achieve well-coordinated movements, we must have training and discipline.

Photo: Unsplash/Elissar Haidar

But those flocks of birds in the sky, like this group of Common starlings, fly together without any trouble or training at all. The group may consist of as many as 750,000, but these birds are able to fly, turn, whirl, and swoop just like one enormous cloud.

This phenomenon starts to occur in the Northern Hemisphere in autumn and winter, when the starlings make a six-week stopover during their migration to the south. This breathtaking spectacle by starlings and other birds, like geese, flamingos, and robins, is called murmuration — named after the sound that starlings make when they dance all together in the sky. This mesmerizing sky dance takes place at twilight and may last for a few minutes up to almost an hour.

Photo: Instagram Video/ta,tsu.1

According to Andrea Cavagna and his colleagues, who conducted a study on starling flocks, this ability comes from the birds’ mechanism that is called scale-free behavioral correlation. They stated that, “The change in the behavioral state of one animal affects and is affected by that of all other animals in the group, no matter how large the group is. Scale-free correlations provide each animal with an effective perception range much larger than the direct interindividual interaction range, thus enhancing global response to perturbations.”

But do you know that this amazing mechanism is present in fish as well? For these underwater creatures, the phenomenon occurs when a shoal or school of fish moves as if they have just one mind.

Photo: Instagram Video/ta.tsu.1

It is still a mystery why birds, fish, insects, and some other animals do this, although some experts theorize that this collective behavior helps to minimize the risk of predation. The bigger their number, the more difficult for predators to single out prey. Also, as they swirl and move harmoniously in groups, the fluid movement blurs the predator’s vision.

See how awe-inspiring a shoal of fish can be in this video that has been watched by millions!

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