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Posts Tagged "Fish"

The Artful Amoeba

Spiny Baby Sea Bass Illustrates Surprising Physiques of Young Fish

liopropoma_olneyi_juvenile_Baldwin_&_Johnson_2014_200

Among divers and marine biologists, it’s common knowledge that ocean fish lead double lives. Like birds and butterflies, their young often look nothing like the adults, but unlike birds and butterflies, it is the young that are often more beautiful and ornate than their parents. I think this bit of natural history remains largely unknown [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

150 Million Years of Fish Evolution in One Handy Figure

anglerfish(Humpback)_wiki_pd_200

Have you ever wished you could have the entire 150 million years of spiny-rayed fish evolution in convenient poster form? Well, wait no longer. Your happy day is here! Trust me . . . this is one poster featuring mullets you will not be embarrassed to display. (Click to enlarge. Click twice, actually) Plus, you can [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

True-ish (and Hilarious) Facts About the Anglerfish

Anglerfish and comedy always seemed like a natural pairing. But it took internet humorist Ze Frank to bring the two together in one delicious dish. The natural history documentary parody series “True Facts About …” by Frank has become a minor youtube sensation. I’d seen one of his works before “True Facts About Land Snails” [...]

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Expeditions

Counting Fish: Wrap Up and Conclusion

Since July 2012, I’ve been posting about a study of artificial reefs along the Texas coast. Scientists at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies in Corpus Christi conducted the research, funded by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, to determine whether these structures increase fish populations, and whether their location, type and [...]

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Expeditions

Salmon farms in the Bay of Fundy worry fishermen

Editor’s Note: Expedition Blue Planet, led by Jacques Cousteau’s granddaughter Alexandra Cousteau, is traveling 14,500 miles of road over 138 days to investigate and film some of North America’s most pressing water-use and management stories. Expedition members will file dispatchs from the field for Scientific American until the expedition concludes on November 12 in Washington, [...]

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Expeditions

What’s Happening To My Body: A Book for Cortez Wrasses

colorful fish wrasse sea of cortez stanford biology cruise gilly

Editor’s Note: William Gilly, a professor of cell and developmental biology and marine and organismal biology at Stanford University, is traveling with a group of students on board the Don José in the Sea of Cortez. They will monitor and track Humboldt squid and sperm whales in their watery habitats. This is the group’s seventh [...]

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Extinction Countdown

3 New Species of Weird, Endangered Fish Discovered in India, U.S and Colombia

Kryptoglanis shajii

“It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.”—Warren Ellis You can find some pretty weird things when you go poking around in holes in remote parts of the globe. The past month brought three examples of that rule of thumb as scientists announced the discovery of three extremely strange and endangered new fish species. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Giant Otters Damned by Giant Hydroelectric Dams

giant river otter

Mathematically speaking, the creation of the massive Balbina Hydroelectric Dam in Brazil should have been a boon to the giant river otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) that live in the area. The dam, which went online in 1989, created a reservoir more than 443,000 hectares in size. As the land behind the dam flooded, more than 3,500 [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Killifishes Killed Off: 2 Fish Species May Be Extinct in the Wild

extinct

Is it time to add two more species to the list of recent extinctions? New research indicates that two critically endangered fish species may now be extinct in the wild following the destruction of their only habitats. The species in question were both killifishes, an order of thumb-size fishes that live in small bodies of [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Fish Found: The Greatest Conservation Success Story of 2013?

Mangarahara cichlid

Seven months ago things looked pretty bleak for the Mangarahara cichlid (Ptychochromis insolitus). The only habitat for this rare Madagascar fish species had been destroyed and the cichlid was down to its last three known individuals, all of which were males. In a last-ditch effort to save the species from extinction, conservationists at the London [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Tiny Ohio Catfish Species, Last Seen in 1957, Declared Extinct

scioto madtom

Here’s the thing about extinctions: They are very rarely witnessed. The last members of a species in the wild tend to go quietly into the night with no one to witness their deaths. All too often, humans don’t even notice that a species has disappeared until years—if not decades—after the fact. Even then, conservationists tend [...]

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Extinction Countdown

World’s Largest Owl Needs Equally Large Trees and Forests (But It’s More Complex Than That)

Blakiston's Fish owl

With a body the size of a small child and a wingspan of up to two meters, the Blakiston’s fish owl (Bubo blakistoni) is the largest owl in the world. It is also one of the rarest, shiest and least studied. But that didn’t stop a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Diseased Tigers, Wounded Rhinos and Other Links from the Brink

sumatran tiger

Diseases, poachers, smartphones, sewage and animal psychology are in the news this weekend. Temper Tantrum: Evidence of canine distemper has been found in Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) in Indonesia, according to a recent report from BBC News. Distemper has previously been found in Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in Russia, where it proved to [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Desperately Seeking Cichlid: Fish Species Down to Last 3 Males, No Known Females

Mangarahara cichlid

The last three males of an all-but-extinct fish species would really, really, really like to meet a female. Once upon a time the Mangarahara cichlid (Ptychochromis insolitus) lived in a single habitat: a river in Madagascar from which the species gets its name. That river has now been dammed and the habitat has dried up. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Just 35 Devils Hole Pupfish Remain—Does Extinction Loom?

devils hole pupfish

One of the world’s rarest fish species just got a lot rarer. The latest twice-annual count of tiny Devils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis) at their sole habitat in Nevada has revealed just 35 of the critically endangered fish remain, down from 75 this past fall. This is the lowest count since the species was federally [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Tiny, Critically Endangered and Controversial Nevada Fish Experiences Dramatic Population Increase

moapa dace

First the good news: The world’s only population of the critically endangered Moapa dace (Moapa coriacea), a tiny fish endemic to the hot springs along a small stretch of Nevada’s Muddy River, has boomed this year. After a strange and still unexplained die-off in 2007 lowered the species’ population from 1,200 to 473 fish, its [...]

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Food Matters

Eat Small: Why our Big Fish Problem is leading to big fish problems. (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 1.07.58 AM

We like big fish. And that’s a problem, according to Andy Sharpless, CEO of the ocean conservation organization Oceana, and co-author (along with Suzannah Evans) of the book The Perfect Protein. The book describes how regulations from a small group of countries, and a shift in the way we think about seafood, could ensure a sustainable [...]

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Food Matters

Fish Feast

three salmon pieces on a chopping board

Families across America are likely snacking on a surplus of turkey, ham and chicken leftover from last week’s holiday meals. But for some Italian-American families, seafood was the protein of choice. Seven different types of seafood, to be exact. In the traditional Southern Italian “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” families partake in at least seven [...]

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Guest Blog

Now in 3-D: The shape of krill and fish schools

Watching videos of fish feeding frenzies is a very emotional experience for me. You know the videos I’m talking about (personal favorites here, 0:55 in, and here). They feature a swirling, glittering mass of fish that seems to dance and flit as a single entity while being torn apart by three or four types of [...]

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Guest Blog

To catch a fallen sea angel: A mighty mollusk detects ocean acidification

  "What’s more," snapped the Lorax. (His dander was up.) "Let me say a few words about Gluppity-Glupp. Your machine chugs on, day and night without stop making Gluppity-Glupp. Also Schloppity-Schlopp. And what do you do with this leftover goo?… I’ll show you. You dirty old Once-ler man, you! "You’re glumping the pond where the [...]

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Not bad science

Left-Eyed Fish Are Faster Learners

The rainbowfish, Melanotaenia duboulayi

You may have heard the claim that left-handed people are smarter than right handed people. Specifically, it seems that left-handed people are over represented in musicians, architects and art and music students. Why this might be isn’t entirely clear, but it is possible that it has something to do with the left-handed brain being larger [...]

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Not bad science

Human Noise Disturbs Different Fish in Different Ways

The three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus

It is well known that animals are affected by human noise pollution. For example, dark-eyed junco birds that live in cities sing both louder and with a different song than their countryside counterparts. However, human noise pollution is not contained to cities, and even our oceans are filled with the noise from ships, motorboats and [...]

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Not bad science

Good cleaners: cleaner fish behave differently depending on who’s watching

When we know someone is watching us, we behave differently. This ‘audience effect’ is something I have written about previously. However, a new study has found a type of audience effect never before found outside humans. Just to recap, the ‘audience effect’ is any change in our behaviour caused by someone else watching. This evidently [...]

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Not bad science

Who’s watching me? Fish behave differently depending on who’s watching

We all act a bit differently when we know someone’s watching. When your boss walks into a room, perhaps you’re more likely to do a good job, (or if you’re anything like me, more likely to screw up). Maybe there’s a joke that you know is hilarious with one group of friends, but you don’t [...]

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Observations

Oceans Likened to World’s Biggest Failed State

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons Overfishing and pollution have pushed life in the high seas to the brink of collapse, according to a new report from the Global Ocean Commission. “The oceans are a failed state,” David Miliband, co-chair of the commission, told Reuters. The commission has implored governments to set a five-year deadline to deal with [...]

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Observations

Souvenir Seafood Menus Offer Glimpse into Hawaii’s Oceans of Old

A 1957 menu from Hawaiian restaurant "The Tropics." Image credit: Kyle Van Houtan

Kyle Van Houtan, a marine ecologist at Duke University and a researcher for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has spent the last few months scouring libraries, Web sites and private collections for Hawaiian restaurant menus dating as far back as the late 1800s. Why menus? Van Houtan and his colleagues are trying to learn [...]

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Observations

Fish Shoots Down Prey with Super-Powered Jet [Video]

archer fish water jet

With a juicy insect dinner perched on a leaf above the water, what is a hungry little archer fish down below to do? Knock it down with a super-powered, super-precise jet of water that packs six times the power the fish could generate with its own muscles, according to new findings published online October 24 [...]

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Observations

Ancient Armored Fish Had First Bad Bite

early armored fish first jaws teeth evolution

The ancient ocean was a frightening place. But the emergence of the armored placoderm fish would have made it even more terrifying. These fish were no great whites—some weren’t much bigger than a goldfish. But they were some of the first vertebrates to have jaws, and new research shows that they were probably the first [...]

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Observations

How Would Fish Vote in the 2012 Election?

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

This week’s look at the ScienceDebate answers provided by Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama focuses on their replies to a question about the health of our oceans and coastlines. Two areas in particular—declining fisheries and pollution—were highlighted for special consideration. Of course, the oceans also play a major role in driving weather systems [...]

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Observations

For Unendowed Fish, a Fake Dinner Leads to Sex

fish lure sex food

The promise of a nice dinner might not always win over a woman, but for some male fish, a tasty-looking lure seems to get the girl pretty reliably. The trick is to make sure the offering resembles the local cuisine and then they can reel in the ladies hook, line and sinker. Swordtail charachin (Corynopoma [...]

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Observations

Jaws did not dominate early oceans

fossil fish jaw mandible show evolutionary stability in oceans

Deep in the Silurian seas, some 420 million years ago, a strange structure had just emerged in the bodies of many new vertebrates. Some fish began developing a defined upper and lower jaw that allowed them to devour large and hard-shelled organisms. Today more than 99 percent of vertebrates have these handy eating apparati. But [...]

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Observations

Copycat catfish evade competition

catfish that mimics other species avoid predators

In the animal kingdom it pays to look more dangerous and less tasty. It also helps if harmful species resemble one another so that predators might "learn" more easily to avoid both. A new example of this form of mimicry has been discovered among catfish that live in the Amazonian basin, where a school of [...]

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Observations

Forget x-ray vision, these fish have UV vision

uv fish vision damselfish

Ever wish you had a secret code that you could use to communicate with a select few? Researchers have found that one little breed of fish actually has one. The Ambon damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) can see detailed ultraviolet (UV) patterns on their fellow fishes—and detect the lack of these lines in other similar species, according [...]

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Observations

Following the evolutionary trail of massive filter feeders

whale evolution filter feeding prehistoric fish

The gargantuan plankton-eating whales of today—such as the humpback whale and the blue whale–have long been thought to be the evolutionary masters of their filter-feeding technique. New research, published online February 18 in two papers in Science, however, shows that millions of years before these massive mammals evolved, huge fish fruitfully employed the same approach—and [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

First Octopus Farms Get Growing

octopus farms

Fish farms now produce million tons of fish each year around the globe. But octopuses have largely escaped this kind of confined aquaculturing, despite a growing global demand and overfishing. Why? That’s the million-ton question. Based on their brief life cycles, prolific reproduction and efficient metabolisms, octopuses should be ideal candidates for aquaculture. They have short [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopuses Feast On Florida’s Stone Crab Straight from Traps

octopus stone crab

Florida stone crabs (Menippe mercenaria) are known to diners for their sweet, meaty claws. And octopuses also seem to relish these delicacies. Reports are coming out of Florida that the stone crab fishery is way down this year—and many think local common octopuses (Octopus vulgaris) are to blame. The crabs are caught in traps, most [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Deadly Octopus Flashes Bright Blue Warning with Super-Reflective Skin [Video]

blue-ringed octopus flashes blue warning muscles iridophores

The diminutive blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) looks like a sweet, possibly even fantastical creature. Often measuring less than 20 centimeters long and covered with dozens of bright blue rings, it spends most of its time hiding out in shells or rocks near the beach. But don’t be fooled—this little cephalopod is trouble. One small nip [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

How Do You Count Giant Octopuses? Color-Code Them with Silicone [Video]

giant pacific octopus tagging tracking populations noaa

Octopuses are clever, reclusive, dexterous, strong and slippery as heck—especially those belonging to the very largest species: the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). So how are researchers to catch and track them? Certainly not with traditional nets and tags, which the octopuses can (respectively) squeeze out of and rip off. Instead, try enlisting the help [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

How Does a Fish Mimic a Mimic Octopus? [Video]

mimic octopus and jawfish

Mimic octopuses (Thaumoctopus mimicus) have one-upped their well-camouflaged cousins by actively impersonating other sea creatures—such as venomous sea snakes and lionfish—by changing their body shape and movement. But they have now been one-upped by a tiny fish that mimics them (or at least takes advantage of their complex patterning and movement to better camouflage itself). [...]

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Plugged In

Plenty of Fish in the Sea?

A cluster of tuna off the southern tip of Italy. Photo: Courtesy of the UN FAO

In 2010, people across the globe munched their way through 128 million tons of seafood. That’s according to the latest data coming out of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This hefty supply of fish equals around 41 pounds per person each year, and is taking its toll on the health of the oceans [...]

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Running Ponies

All the Presidents’ fish: Five new species named after Obama, Clinton, Roosevelt, Carter and Gore

Etheostoma stigmaeum

Getting a second term is pretty good, but getting your own fish is arguably pretty good too because Obamafish. Say it out loud, it’s great. Five new species of colourful, freshwater fish called darters have been discovered in river drainages in eastern North America and named after four Presidents and a Vice. Darters are the [...]

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Running Ponies

Get on your bike, Phallostethus cuulong

Who says genitals have to be between your legs? A new species of fish has literally turned the genital game on its head and is quietly running with it in the murky Meking River. Discovered in 2009 by zoologist Koichi Shibukawa from the Nagao Natural Environment Foundation in Tokyo, Japan, and described in a recent [...]

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Symbiartic

Scientists Discover the Very First Hipster

14-001FEATURE

You’ve seen the cartoon before: a fish hoisting itself up on land with its front fins, being greeted with some snarky sign like, “Evolve at your own risk,” or something similar. This fish has become a meme, so much so that when the discovery of Tiktaalik roseae, a 375-million year old fossil that displays a [...]

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Symbiartic

How Fossil Fish Make Front-Page News

13-042FEATURE

Perhaps you’ve heard about Entelognathus primordialis this week. Wait, the scientific name doesn’t ring a bell on its own? What if I refer to it as the 419-million-year old placoderm fish that surprised everyone with its beautifully preserved, surprisingly modern-looking jaw? Entelognathus primordialis shakes our family tree at its roots; it unseats cartilaginous fish as [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

More Oarfish And This Time They’re Alive

In October, two oarfish mysteriously washed up dead on beaches in Southern California. It’s unusual to find one intact oarfish carcass, so the fact that there were two within days of each other had scientists scratching their heads. While it was probably nothing more than coincidence, researchers quickly took the opportunity to study the intact [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

The Best Animal Stories of 2012

Allen's swamp monkeys. San Diego Zoo.

By Jason G. Goldman and Matt Soniak Humans have a complicated relationship with our non-human cousins. Some animals we invite into our homes, and treat as members of our families. Indeed, in November of this year singer Fiona Apple made headlines when she announced that she would cancel the South American segment of her tour [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

A Fishy Beachfront Orgy: The Tweet That Became An Article

grunion-jason-1

Earlier this summer, evolutionary biologist, wildlife photographer, and (most importantly) my friend Neil Losin asked if I wanted to drive down to Long Beach with him to check out the grunion run, and try to get some decent photos of it. We went, and it was awesome, so I tweeted about it. You guys. You [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

There Is Music In Life, and in Fish [video]

The Quiet Ensemble sees music everywhere in nature. Quintetto promo from Quiet ensemble on Vimeo. “Quintetto” is an installation based on the study of casual movement of objects or living creatures used as input for the production of sounds. The basic concept is to reveal what we call “invisible concerts” of everyday life. The vertical [...]

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Thoughtomics

Ancient fish had the backbone of a landlubber

Tarrasius crushed its prey with its molars, just like modern wolf eels do. Photo Dan Hershman.

Evolution has a knack for confronting us with strange and unexpected questions. One of them echoed through the halls of the Collections Centre of the National Museum of Scotland, not too long ago: “Why does a fish need a sacrum!?” Lauren Sallan was peering through her microscope, studying a fossil specimen of Tarrasius, when she [...]

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Thoughtomics

Heads before Tails: Ancient Fish Evolved Head-First

cretaceous_fish

Like most evolutionary tales, this one could have started on the Galapagos Islands. Instead we find ourselves in an ancient sea, near the end of the Devonian, 360 million years ago. A mass extinction has struck life underwater. The armoured placoderms, once an abundant class of fishes, have gone extinct. Other groups of fishes have [...]

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