Fish Use ‘Sign Language’ to Help Out Hunting Buddies
by Douglas Main
Two types of fish have been shown to use gestures, or sign language, to help one another hunt. This is the first time these types of gestures have been found to occur in animals other than primates and ravens.
Both types of fish, grouper and coral trout, are known for hunting cooperatively with other kinds of animals. Whereas the grouper hunts with giant moray eels and a fish called the Napoleon wrasse, coral trout partner up with octopuses to snag prey. A study published last week in the journal Nature Communications found that the fish are able to “point” their heads toward prey, to help out their hunting buddies.
After observing the fish in the wild for many hours, the researchers found that when a prey fish escaped its hunting party, a grouper occasionally moved over the place where the fugitive prey was hiding. The grouper would then rotate its body so that its head faced downward, and it would shake its head back and forth in the direction of the potential meal, in what researchers call a “headstand” signal. Coral trout make a similar sign, the researchers found…
Lurking in lakes and rivers around the world, eels are ubiquitous yet enigmatic. Despite centuries of study, the most basic details of eel life remain mysterious.
Their offspring, example, look so different from adults that they were long thought to be another species. Even more fundamentally, while every other migratory fish in the world spawns in fresh water and spends adulthood at sea, eels do the opposite. How did this come to be? Nobody knows.
“Even the more scientific books pretty much admit that we don’t know very much,” said James Prosek, an artist and author. “As Rachel Carson said, ‘they pass from human sight and almost from human knowledge.’”
Prosek’s first experiences with eels came in childhood, when he accidentally caught Anguilla rostrata, the American eel, while fishing for trout and bass in Connecticut. Exasperation eventually turned to fascination, sending him around the world in search of more information…
The Banded Sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina) feeding on an unidentified species of moray eel (Gymnothorax sp.) in Fiji. Location was a patch reef off Pacific Harbour at a depth of about 30’. The krait had already killed the eel and was swallowing it when my wife, Marj Awai, found it.
Wolf Eel Comes Out to Play at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Diver in charge of the 4:00 feeding Monday 2.25.13 got a wonderful surprise when a Wolf Eel came out to play. These prehistoric looking creatures normally hide in their habitat, so it’s rare to see them so full of energy. The diver was beside himself with happiness as were we who were lucky enough to be in the audience that day.
Glass eels typically refers to an intermediary stage in the eel’s complex life. The term typically refers to a transparent glass eel of the family Anguillidae. These are the freshwater eels that spawn in the ocean, and then enter estuaries as glass eels and swim upstream to live in freshwater during their juvenile growth phase. As the glass eels enter freshwater they start to become pigmented and are typically referred to as elvers. The elvers grow larger and are referred to as yellow eels, which are the juvenile stage of eels before their reproductive maturation begins.
is a small species of conger eel found in shallowish Indo-Pacific waters. This species is widely known for its burrows, as large groups of up to a few thousand eels will burrow into the bottom of a reef or coral cluster and sit in their small sandy homes with their mouths pointed towards the current in the hopes of catching any zooplankton that may swim by.
also known as the Tiger Moray, the fangtooth is a species of moray eel that can be found throughout the eastern Atlantic and some islands like the Canary Islands. The name tiger or fangtooth comes from the animals bright almost tiger like yellow coloration, but it’s most remarkable feature is it’s elongated jaw which is armed with a number of long teeth that are as clear as glass. they can also grow up to four feet long!
No two snowflakes are alike and each is beautiful in its own way—but this one’s pretty creepy!
The snowflake moray eel (Echidna nebulosa) has white, black and yellow splotches all over its body, which come together to look like snowflake designs. Moray eels eat their prey in a unique way: with two jaws. The second set of jaws is in their throat, which shoots up and grabs the prey from the main pair of jaws, drawing the prey down to the esophagus.
The diversity of life within the ocean is astounding!
This sample of zooplankton was collected in the Celebes Sea using a trawl with a 10-meter-square opening. In this dish are a jellyfish, a lanternfish, a snipe eel, two large orange shrimp, a fuzzy pyrosome (which is bioluminescent), and several smaller animals.