The Beacon: Emily Fisher's blog
Squarenose Helmetfish – (scopelogadus beanii)
This fish is named for the armor worn by medieval knights, and it’s blessed with unusually large nostrils. It also has a network of white strands on its face that are sensory canals. Just don’t make any sudden movements when you’re in the depths, and you ought to be just fine.
See the rest and vote for the freakiest for your chance to win IMAX tickets at http://oceana.org/freaky-fish-contest.
At last, a cephalopod has risen to fame on daytime television. What took so long?
"The 900-pound cephalopod from the family Architeuthidae joins cohosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Sherri Shepherd. Like many past hosts, who have come from such diverse backgrounds as law, stand-up comedy, and local news, the squid was a virtual unknown before joining the cast. Plucking it from relative obscurity, producers discovered the squid 26,000 feet below sea level in the Mariana Trench and said to themselves, 'This is the perspective the show has been lacking...
Telescope octopus, Amphitretus pelagicus
Little is known about the biology and behavior of this strange cephalopod except that it has rotating telescopic eyes. But its sheathed white appearance makes it look like it might just pop up and say, “Boo!”
To see the rest of the contestants and cast your vote for a chance to win IMAX tickets, check out http://oceana.org/freaky-fish-contest.
Sea turtle lovers, you might want to sit down for this. This week, a study found that nearly 3,000 endangered Pacific loggerhead sea turtles were found dead along a 27-mile stretch of Baja California, Mexico's coast during a five-year period from 2003 to 2007. That’s an average of more than 11 sea turtles found dead a week – on a relatively small stretch of beach.
The turtle deaths are as a result of fishing bycatch, when turtles get caught accidentally in fishing nets, which Oceana is campaigning to stop. We are working to reduce the number of sea turtles caught each year in commercial fisheries, get more observers on-board fishing boats to count the number of sea turtles caught, and obtain better information on how fisheries impact sea turtle populations.
Along with Ocean Hall, add this to your list of to-dos in DC -- yesterday the National Geographic museum opened a new exhibit, Whales | Tohor?, that combines the latest science about whales with their cultural significance to the peoples of the South Pacific.
There's a model blue whale heart you can crawl through (!), rare whale skeletons, and lots of other interactive features. And this Saturday, Oct. 18, there will be a free showing of the Oscar-nominated Whale Rider to mark the opening of the exhibit.
The whale exhibit is touring from New Zealand's Te Papa Tongarewa museum, and will be in town until January 19, 2009.
In sum: National Geographic + Whales + Science + Culture = must-see. I'll definitely be checking this one out -- stay tuned for a report back.
Deep-sea White Anglerfish – Haplophryne mollis
Today's featured contestant is an anglerfish that resembles a glow-in-the-dark onion – and you’d probably cry if you saw one, considering its fierce bite. The males are dwarfish, and are fifteen to thirty times as numerous as females, so it’s tough for them to find a date. Once he catches the lucky lady, he latches on for good with his sharp, hooked teeth.
See the rest and vote for the freakiest all October long for your chance to win IMAX tickets at http://oceana.org/freaky-fish-contest.
Last week Oceana took a field trip to the new Ocean hall at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Reviews have been mixed. Here's our assessment, in list form:
1. The North Atlantic right whale -- Phoenix, a model of a real whale (pictured above), so-named because she was entangled in fishing gear and was "re-born" into the wild, where she currently resides. A compelling story about an individual whale and her species.
2. Coelacanth and pup -- an incredible back-from-extinction story not to be missed.
3. Videos on a spinning globe -- I was mesmerized by this, and I sat and watched several chapters about Pangaea and Panthalassa, the recent tsunami and ocean currents. But Suzannah pointed out that there was nowhere to sit besides the floor.
Wolftrap Angler – Thaumatichthys binghami
This angler apparently neglected to get braces – as evidenced by its severe overbite. Its upper jaw overhangs its lower jaw by far, giving it the appearance, as Claire Nouvian observes, of “a rugby player who forgot to remove his mouthguard.” And unlike many other anglers, who have a bioluminescent lure as a rod, this one keeps it inside his mouth.
See the rest of the freaky fish and cast your vote at http://oceana.org/freaky-fish-contest for your chance to win IMAX tickets and more...
In further noisy ocean news this past week, our nation's highest court heard oral arguments in the dispute over the Navy's use of mid-frequency active sonar off the coast. The sonar has been associated with whale injury and beach strandings; meanwhile, the Navy argues that halting or restricting sonar training exercises in any way harms national security. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the plaintiff in the case, many whales that have been beached as a result of sonar have suffered physical trauma, including bleeding around the brain, ears and other tissues. In addition, many have shown symptoms akin to a severe case of "the bends" -- the illness that can kill scuba divers who surface quickly from deep water, implying that the whales' dive patterns are altered. Sonar has also been shown to disrupt feeding and other vital behavior and to cause a wide range of species to panic and flee. The NRDC case is specific to training exercises in the Pacific Ocean and whether the Navy has to be environmentally responsible in its routine trainings by reducing their impacts to whales.
Today's Freaky Fish contestant is the Fanfin seadevil.
This one is truly monstrous, resembling a construction by the evil kid in Toy Story. With wire-like filaments sticking out of its body to detect movement in the water, the greek root of its name means roughly a “toad embellished with stalks.” Don’t worry, it’s unlikely you’ll ever deal with this devil – it’s rarely observed or captured.
See the rest and vote for the freakiest for a chance to win IMAX tickets at http://oceana.org/freaky-fish-contest.
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