Thursday, July 25, 2013

Here, have a fish...

I've been busy today, with meetings and preparing for a presentation that I have to give next week at CVP.

But, I'm also reading a book about the coelacanth right now. I've been sort of obsessed with this particular fish since I first saw one preserved at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History when I was in about the third or fourth grade. They are fascinating creatures, two species of fish - one living in the West Indian Ocean off the coast of southern Africa and one living in the waters around Indonesia - that were thought to have been extinct since around the time the dinosaurs died out until one species was discovered in the take from a fishing vessel off the east coast of South Africa in 1938. Until this discovery, the coelecanth was known only from the fossil record. The Indonesian species was scientifically unknown until 1999.

These species are very old, with biologists suspecting that they have evolved very little in the past 400 million years or so. Because they are so rare, and because they remain in very deep waters during the day and in fact live most of the time in caves deep in the ocean, very little is known about how they live or how long the individuals of the species live. It has been discovered that the female of the species retain the eggs of their young in their bodies rather than laying them and that it takes them about a year to gestate, after which they hatch within the mother and then the mother gives live birth to them.

The photos in the book I'm reading are not the best, clearest that they could be, so I took some time to look around YouTube to see if anyone had any footage of the fish live and in the wild. And, indeed, there is some footage, which I thought I'd share with you:

Yeah, I know. I get enthusiasms for some unusual things. It keeps life interesting, in a good way.

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