This fascinating video captures a glimpse of the weird and wonderful animals that live in the aphotic zone. The aphotic zone (aphotic from Greek prefix ἀ- + φῶς "without light") is the portion of a lake or ocean where there is little or no sunlight. It is formally defined as the depths beyond which less than 1% of sunlight penetrates. Consequently, bioluminescence is essentially the only light found in this zone. Most food comes from dead organisms sinking to the bottom of the lake or ocean from overlying waters.
Archive for the 'Fish' category
tags: Glowing Life in an Underwater World, marine biology, bioluminescence, luciferase, luciferin, green fluorescent protein, eye-in-the-sea cam, ethology, evolution, Edith Widder, TEDTalks, streaming video
Some 80 to 90 percent of undersea creatures make light -- and we know very little about how or why. Bioluminescence expert Edith Widder explores this glowing, sparkling, luminous world, sharing glorious images and insight into the unseen depths (and brights) of the ocean.
A huge oarfish, also known as the ribbonfish, Regalecus glesne, was caught on camera in the Gulf of Mexico, giving scientists a rare glimpse of the bizarre fish in its native deep sea habitat. This is probably the largest bony fish in the seas, and it has the distinctive habit of swimming vertically (head up). Researcher Mark Benfield describes the fish, a likely inspiration for the sea serpent myth.
This is a television commercial by the Sea Shepherd. It is an appeal to stop finning sharks. Shark finning refers to the cruel practice of capturing sharks and slicing off their fins. Shark fins are a Chinese delicacy -- they are the main ingredient in shark fin soup. Since shark meat isn't worth the cost of transporting the massive shark bodies to market, the finless animals are thrown back into the water, alive. Without its fins, the shark cannot swim, so it sinks beneath the waves where it drowns in a watery grave.
tags: South Pacific Islands, Solomon Islands, subsistence fishing, tuna fishing, documentary, BBC Two, streaming video
This fascinating video shows how South Pacific islanders fish for Skipjack Tuna for commercial export using hook, line and pole. Skipjack Tuna are more able to withstand the pressures of commercial fishing than other tuna species because they reach sexual maturity in one year and then spawn many times per season afterwards. Of course, they are not as commercially desirable because they are the smallest tuna species, but if humans cause the extinction of all other tuna species due to overfishing, Skipjack might be the only species that remains. If you have adequate wifi support, you should watch this full-screen in high definition.
tags: HR669, pets, exotic animals, invasive species, ornamental fish trade, aquaculture, New England Aquarium, politics
This morning, I was contacted by Scott Dowd, a biologist who specializes in studying fishes in the Amazon with the New England Aquarium. Scott sent this letter, written yesterday by Bud Ris, the President and CEO of the New England Aquarium, regarding their official position on HR 669. Scott gave permission for me to share the text of the letter here, which appears below the fold, and I also have permission to share the PDF of the letter with interested others.
The Cuckoo Catfish, Synodontis multipunctatus [Siluriformes: Mochokidae].
This is the only fish that is a known brood parasite.
This is one of the species included in this newly-published study.
One of the groups of fishes that I worked with as an aquarist for nearly my entire life are the synodontids, often known as "squeaker catfish" for their ability to make high-pitched sounds. These medium- to large-sized African catfishes are attractive, long-lived and intelligent, and many species in this genus exhibit a variety of distinctive breeding behaviors. For example, S. multipunctatus (pictured above) is the only fish documented to practice brood parasitism: it sneaks its eggs in with those of mouthbrooding cichlids in Lake Tanganyika, and its larvae grow faster than those of the host and feed on them. Add that to a fascinating evolutionary history, which is still being deciphered, and you have a very interesting group of fishes.
tags: The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks, Susan Casey, science, adventure, memoir, book review
An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep.
-- John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez (Penguin Classics; 1995).
Unlike any of the kids I grew up with, I was absolutely fascinated by sharks. Despite their bloodthirsty reputation, I saw them as elegant and beautiful creatures, although I never appreciated them as individual personalities. But when you read journalist Susan Casey's book, The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks (Henry Holt and Company; 2005), you will feel as though you've met this group of sharks, and the most amazing thing that you will learn about them is that they do have their own special personalities.
Adult male Celebes Rainbowfish (also known as a Celebes Sailfish), Telmatherina ladigesi.
Image: Orphaned. Please contact me so I can award proper attribution. [larger view].
As most of my readers know, I am an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist by training, and an aviculturist and birder by experience, so imagine my surprise when I was recently asked to write a guest blog essay about fishkeeping for an aquarium hobbyist blog site, The Reef Tank. How the heck did they know I am an avid aquarist? I wondered. But the truth is that before I started keeping and breeding birds, I kept and bred fish (I still keep fish now), and I even was a manager of the fish department for a very well-respected Seattle-area pet shop before I managed to earn enough money to finish my university education. In fact, fish were wonderful teachers for developing and honing my sharp eye for detail and my disciplined husbandry techniques that were extremely useful later when I started keeping and breeding rare parrots. But like most aquarists, after keeping a variety of freshwater tropical fishes for five or six years, I began looking around for a group of fishes to devote my energies to. Because I worried about the environmental ethics of keeping wild-caught marine coral reef fishes, I instead chose to specialize in two distinct fishy groups, one of which were the brackish water rainbowfishes from the South Pacific Islands (where, not surprisingly, my research birds also originate).