Divers are often fascinated by huge schools of fish, if you are calm and move slowly, you can even be surrounded by them.
About a quarter of all fish species shoal or school for their entire life, while almost half do so for a limited time.
There is a number of explanations for this behavior. It has been proposed that fish school to reduce stress and make social interactions easier. Fish in schools have shown significantly slower heartrates than solitary ones. Schooling also seems to improve the foraging success of the group, where more eyes see more food.
The most important factor seems to be protection. By moving in coordinated patterns, it makes it harder for predators to focus on individuals.
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