I’ve been so busy getting ready for Thanksgiving, I haven’t had much time for writing lately, so here’s Comedy Writer Whale to help me out this week!
Happy Humpday (^_^)
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce a creature making it’s very first debut on live video: the oarfish (Regalecus glesne.) I recommend watching the video from about 4:30 to 8:00 for extreme wonderment and stunning close-ups of this 22-foot-long giant.
Oarfish, the longest bony fish alive, are large, greatly elongated, deep-sea dwelling fishes, found in all temperate to tropical oceans yet rarely seen. This particular video was shot in the Gulf of Mexico.
The name, oarfish, is presumably in reference to either their highly compressed and elongated bodies. The occasional beachings of oarfish after storms, and their habit of lingering at the surface when sick or dying, make oarfish a probable source of many sea serpent tales.
Mark Benfield, a professor at Louisiana State University, was present when the footage of oarfish was taken. He explained that there were actually five videos of oarfish taken between 2008 and 2011, through use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Once they spotted the fish, the team followed it for about ten minutes, Benfield said.
“We weren’t looking for oarfish,” Benfield explained. “This was just sheer luck. We happened to be in the right place at the right time and we were able to spend some time with this oarfish.”
That time paid off. From the footage, Benfield and his colleagues discovered an abundance of information about the creature: that it can be found at least 1,640 feet (500 meters) below the ocean’s surface, and that it swims with a linear propeller. Benfield’s findings were published earlier this week in the publication Journal of Fish Biology.
Three types of critically endangered sharks have been given added protection at the Cites (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) meeting in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.
The convention body voted by a two-thirds majority to upgrade these sharks’ status: the oceanic whitetip, three varieties of hammerheads and the porbeagle; species all said to be seriously threatened by overfishing in the waters surrounding East Asia.
Shark supporters have been attempting to get Cites to protect these species since 1994, but there had long been strong opposition to the move from China and Japan. Experts say the critical factor has been a shift in South American nations, who’ve come to understand that sharks are more valuable alive than dead, in terms of ecological balance and tourism.
Campaigners hailed the move as historic and said the vote represented a major breakthrough for marine conservation. As the votes went on there were smatterings of applause in the hall and some high-fives among campaigners.
This is a pretty incredible video (gets incredible about a minute in) of an octopus holding down a shark while undoing three locks to get away with a canister full of bait. Thusly, I will now refer to the octopus, as the James Bond of the Sea.
For Father’s Day, here’s a fascinating video of a male seahorse giving birth, one of the best fathers in the animal kingdom.
The male seahorse is equipped with what is called a brood pouch on his front-facing side. When mating, the female seahorse deposits up to 1,500 eggs in the male’s pouch. The male carries their eggs for 9 to 45 days until the seahorses emerge fully developed, but very small. Once the seahorses are released into the water, the male’s role is done…. until he finds another female.
Before breeding, seahorses court for several days. Scientists believe the behavior synchronizes the animals’ movements so that the male can receive the eggs when the female is ready to deposit them. During this time they may change color, swim side by side holding tails or grip the same strand of sea grass with their tails and wheel around in unison in what is known as a “pre-dawn dance”. They eventually engage in a “true courtship dance” lasting about 8 hours. When the female’s eggs reach maturity, she and her mate let go of any anchors and snout-to-snout, drift upward out of the seagrass, often spiraling as they rise. The female deposits her eggs into the male’s brood pouch and both animals then sink back into the seagrass.
Four new-to-science crab species have been discovered in The Philippines, on the island of Palawan, and one of them has a beautiful purple shell.
The so-called Insulamon palawanese crab may use its uniquely colored shell to help identify its own kind.
Crabs can discriminate colors. Therefore, it seems likely that the purple coloration is a function for their social behaviour, like when choosing mates. Though the particular violet coloration might just have evolved by chance, and may not necessarily have a very specific function or reason aside from being a general visual signal for recognition, for other crabs of the species.
It was a huge win this week for manatee conservationists everywhere, but especially in Florida, where a new manatee refuge has been established.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the new manatee refuge in the waters of Florida’s Kings Bay will expand protections for manatees at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is the most important wintering site for manatees in northwest Florida and one of the best places to see manatees in the entire state.
The new underwater viewing station offers a rare glimpse at these lobos del rio (their native name) swimming in the newly designed river-like setting… the new exhibit had to be huge- these guys can grow to be five-and-a-half feet long!
Is it me, or this beluga posing and smiling for the camera?
This beautiful underwater shot came from the Vancouver Aquarium.