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Invited Commentary


Brian Key, Why fish do not feel pain


Key (2016) claims fish that fish do not feel pain because they lack the necessary neuronal architecture: their responses to noxious stimuli, according to Key, are executed automatically without any feelings. However, as pointed out by many of his commentators, this conclusion is not convincing. Plants might provide some clues. Plants are not usually thought to be very active behaviorally, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Moreover, in stressful situations, plants produce numerous chemicals that have painkilling and anesthetic properties. Finally, plants, when treated with anesthetics, cannot execute active behaviors such as touch-induced leaf movements or rapid trap closures after localizing animal prey.

Author Biography

František Baluška baluska@uni-bonn.de does research on plant signaling, plant behavior, and evolution of the eukaryotic cell at IZMB, University of Bonn. He founded the journals Plant Signaling & Behavior and Communicative & Integrative Biology, and he edits the book series Signaling and Communication in Plants.