26 October 2012

Amazing fish

It had a high square forehead, a delicate beaked mouth, damasked chestnut flanks shot with gold, and crimson fins like Spanish fans, flecked with turquoise. Under the throat were long bony fingers, which it used to probe the sediments for food. Seen from the front the tub gurnard looked like a goose, its eyes set high on the sides of its beaked head.
-- from a book on rewilding by George Monbiot to be published in 2013.
Silver-skinned fish have alternating layers of cytoplasm, as well as two types of guanine crystals with different refractive indexes that create a unique reflective property. The polarization happens over a range of angles instead of one, and the end product of having all the layers together is that it creates a polarization-neutral reflector Over time, the fish have evolved to have the perfect ratio of the two types of guanine, and as a result have a near-constant reflectivity, providing them an invisibility cloak from all angles
-- The fish that beats physics 
Type 1 males midshipman fish head to shallow waters, excavate nests beneath rocks along the shoreline, hunker down and start to sing, using sonic muscles surrounding their inflatable swim bladders to hum for up to an hour at a time. This humming, which people have described a droning motorboat or an orchestra of mournful oboes, is so loud that it has been known to wake houseboat owners in San Francisco and Sausalito (Listen to a clip of the humming here).
-- What Singing Fish Reveal about Speech and Hearing

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