10 April, 2013

A To Z Challenge: Ichthyology And Invisible Fish

Ichthyology is the study of fish. It is a branch of zoology, which is in turn a branch of biology. Fish are thought to have evolved some 500 million years ago and are typified by having scales, gills, and fins, and being cold-blooded ("cold-blooded" is also known by the scientifically-correct terms ectothermic or poikilothermic).

Before you run away to something that sounds more interesting and less niche than studying fish (there weren't a whole lot of scientific fields beginning with "i" that I could dig up) give me a moment to get to the invisibility.

The pirate perch, or Aphredoderus sayanus, has been found to be capable of making itself functionally invisible to its prey, probably through a chemical means know as chemical crypsis. The experiment demonstrating the fish's abilities went along these lines: Frogs and beetles that don't lay their eggs around predators they recognize were placed in the vicinity of pirate perch. Instead of not laying eggs and avoiding the perch as they normally would, they acted as though the fish were not present at all. Scientists aren't absolutely sure it's chemical crypsis pirate perch are using to disguise themselves, but if it is, they would be the only known species to camouflage themselves that way.

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Sources:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ichthyology
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/zoology
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1516418/ectotherm
http://www.briancoad.com/main.asp?page=fishdictionary.htm
http://www.arkive.org/fish/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130329085941.htm
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-04/weird-crafty-fish-can-make-itself-invisible-and-we-dont-know-how
http://www.fishbase.org/FishOnLine/English/index.htm

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Have any favorite fish species (either to eat or to look at)? Do you or did you ever own any aquatic animals?


-----The Golden Eagle

35 comments:

Mark Means said...

I think I had read, recently, where they found a new species of fish deep down in some ocean...somewhere. As if that wasn't a vague enough description for you...hehe.

With the multitudes of fish out there, I can see how they've missed a few....

Elaine Smith said...

Wow! That is FASCINATING! I have added this to my notebooks - imagine having that kind of skill - I'm feeling a new idea coming on ;)

Deborah Walker said...

I think fish are very interesting. Shoal behavious, f'rinstance. Just how does that work?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Fooled by a chemical - smart perch.

Andrew Leon said...

There's a branch of paleontology devoted to fish, but I'm forgetting the name of it, right now.

Nancy Jardine said...

A spray-on version for supermarket shopping sounds just great- although paranormal also springs to mind in that instance. My daughter's degree is marine biology and some of the deep pelagic names were unpronouncable - just like that 'itchy' one! Very enjoyable! Nancy at Welcome to she said, he said

Pat Hatt said...

Very smart move, invisibilty it self would be fun, although maybe not for everyone.

nutschell said...

maybe we'll learn how to create cloaks of invisibility from the perch!
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have children so of course, we had gold fish won at carnivals. I prefer fish to be in the wild.

Christine Rains said...

Wow, that's really cool. An interesting fact to maybe use for a supernatural being or alien in a story. I've never owned any fish, but one day I'd love to have a big aquarium. I find them very relaxing.

Carrie Butler said...

Sneaky fish! :)

Charles Gramlich said...

i imagine the military is already doing research on this fish.

Cindy Dwyer said...

I know invisible fish exist because I've caught them many times. You feel that tug on the line, reel it in and then...can't see anything. LOL.

Seriously, very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Karen Tamara said...

Oooh...I'm thinking a mermaid story where the mermaid is a scientist and figures out how to use this ability to make herself invisible. I have NO idea why a mermaid would need to be invisible though. Maybe she likes to visit the surface world, ala Ariel? Hmmm...this might need some work...

Thanks for the cool info!
New follower. :)

Kim Van Sickler said...

Very cool, and what about those flying fish! Unbelievable! Back when I used to have a fish tank, I liked to watch my glowing neon tetras zip around. I also had a goldfish and an angelfish that were cannibals and ate some of my other fish and grew HUGE.

Julia King said...

My brother had a bunch of fish. That's the closest I've ever come to having fish. Sadly, I accidentally killed them when he left home for a while. I felt so bad. Perhaps, I gave them too much food. Shrugs.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Fish are so interesting. I love to learn about them.

J.L. Campbell said...

Haven't heard before of fish being able to disguise themselves quite like that.

Krista McLaughlin said...

Now that is an interesting fish! I'm not a big fan of fish. My little brother, who is 6, loves them and had me watch part of "Earth" with him, the section about fish. Some of those fish are cool, others are just creepy! :)

Kern Windwraith said...

"Ichthyology" is a lovely word and worthy of its own post. And, hey, a fish that can make itself invisible to predators--isn't nature a wonderful thing?

DWei said...

I can't think of a fish that I don't enjoy eating. I probably love Japanese food way more than I should.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi GE .. there's so much more to fish than we realise isn't there .. fish can exude perfume, which predatory fish can 'smell out' ...

The parrot fish exudes mucous which it sleeps in (almost invisible) - but due to its twitching (electrical output) .. the white tip shark can sense out.

They are incredible ..

Really interesting post - loved being reminded how wonderful this world is ... cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's a neat trick.

Paul Tobin said...

Fascinating stuff-its worth watching a documentary about the oceans called End of the Line-very thought provoking

Trisha F said...

I'm reading the Species Imperative trilogy, which features a fish biologist, but hey, I didn't know she should have really been called an ichthyologist! Even she didn't mention any such thing in the narrative...so far anyway. Maybe this word goes out of style in the distant future, when her story is set? :D

mshatch said...

Animals (and I'm including them all) are so interesting! Like being able to grow back an appendage or know the song even if they never heard it before. And now invisible fish. Very cool!

Jagoda said...

Who would have thought that a 'mere' perch would be the first creature to have a cloak of invisibility. Great post.
Jagoda from http://www.conflicttango.com

Carol said...

That's really cool! Neat little fact to learn today.

Carol's Notebook

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I want me some of that crypsis! That's powerful stuff. Great and informative post today, Eagle.

Grover said...

Cool! So we just need to learn exactly how the fish do it and Harry Potter's invisibility cloak will be an actual thing? Excellent.

Grover
Inane Ramblings

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

I half expect Cliff from Cheers to start talking somewhere in the middle of that school of fish.

Did you hear that Finding Dory has been greenlit! Huzzah, the sequel to Finding Nemo shall be ours. If that isn't Ichthyology, I've no idea what is.

Tyrean Martinson said...

The only fish that survived my fish keeping methods was a beta and we loved that guy, but now he's gone. My daughters both considered being ithyologists at one point . ..but aren't so sure now. My oldest still loves watching sharks at the nearest zoo and aquarium and she did make me go snorkeling with sharks once. Once is enough for me . . .and we were inside a cage. She wanted to be outside the cage. (yikes)

Mark Noce said...

Man, how many times in High School did I wish I was functionally invisible...now I know that all I had to do was be a fish:)

The Golden Eagle said...

Mark: Sounds like a cool discovery! There are all kinds of weird and fascinating creatures in the deeper parts of the oceans. :)

Elaine: Chemical crypsis would be a pretty unique concept for a story!

Deborah: I don't know. I did some basic research about fish before I wrote this post, but beyond that, I didn't go very in-depth.

Alex: Definitely is!

Andrew: Another blogger posted about ichnology, which she mentioned was a branch of paleontology--was that it?

Nancy: LOL. I wouldn't mind invisibility while shopping.

Pat: Certainly not for the people who were blinded to their presence, in some cases. :P

Susan: Humans have depleted a lot of the world's fish. I try not to eat fish for that reason . . .

Christine: An aquarium would be nice. :)

Carrie: LOL. Sneaky indeed!

Charles: It wouldn't surprise me. They've already done something similar with stealth aircraft.

Cindy: I've never gone fishing, but that must be frustrating!

You're welcome.

Karen: Now there's an intriguing story idea. :)

Anytime--thank you for following The Eagle's Aerial Perspective!

Kim: Flying fish are impressive.

I've heard about people owning fish that eat the smaller ones . . . it must be interesting (and maybe a little creepy) to watch them get bigger.

Julia: I have no idea how much you're supposed to feed fish. I probably wouldn't have done much better!

Karen: Same here. :)

J.L.: It was new to me, too.

Krista: There are strange animals in the ocean. Especially the ones that live in the deepest parts of the oceans.

Kem: It is!

DWei: I haven't eaten many fish, so I don't know what the range of flavors is like--but Japan is pretty big on seafood, isn't it?

Hilary: I didn't know some of those facts. Very cool.

Glad you enjoyed my post!

Diane: It would be interesting to find out how it developed.

Paul: I watched one documentary about underwater life done by the BBC and a few from NOVA--it would be an interesting field to explore some more.

Trisha: That sounds like a really cool series. :)

Maybe!

Mshatch: Biology encompasses so many unique things in the animal world.

Jagoda: Thank you!

Carol: Maybe it will even come in handy sometime. :P

Lee: Thanks!

Grover: One can always imagine an invisibility cloak like Harry's . . .

Michael: I heard about Finding Dory. I still haven't watched Finding Nemo. :P

Tyrean: Snorkeling with sharks must have been really cool! I'm not sure I'd have wanted to move outside the cage, either.

Mark: LOL. Solution to all social problems--turn into a fish.

Elizabeth Towns said...

I have never heard of this! A fish that can make itself invisible but not really, but really? Yes, I like it.

Elizabeth Rising Early, 31 Days