Monday, December 17, 2007

Lumpfish, Oh My

Dan sends us yet another gem. The aptly-named Lumpfish or Lumpsucker. While it looks like a distant cousin of Jabba the Hut, the lumpfish is no fictitious creature. It is a a small, slow-moving fish native to cold Arctic, North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. In Denmark and other Scandinavian countries Lumpfish roe are actually eaten as an inexpensive alternative to pricey, luxury caviar.

But Lumpfish are so much more than cheap caviar for hungry Danes. In general the Lumpfish is small, except for the Smooth Lumpfish that can grow up to 20 inches. The Lumpfish generally hangs out on the bottom of the ocean as its weight- to- length ratio is so disproportionate (i.e. small bodies, a lot of weight), they cannot swim very fast or far. In order to camouflage on the ocean floor, they are usually beige or grey in color.

Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about the Lumpfish is the male's devotion to the eggs before they hatch. While the male waits for the eggs to hatch, he fasts so that he can stay close to the eggs. The male also fans the egg mass constantly with his lumpy fin. (The female has since moved on.) When at last the eggs hatch, the male is so thin and exhausted he cannot continue on with the babies and they swim off on their own. This story of male devotion rivals that of the Empire Penguins. Move over March of the Penguins!

(Finally, I should also mention that in my research I learned the Lumpfish is not only a rather ungainly, fleshy-looking fish, but it is also the name of a party-rock/cover band in Connecticut. Lumpfish sets are "designed to get people off their asses early and keeping them dancing drinking and singing all night long." If anyone is ever in Connecticut, please oh please check out the Lumpfish.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Rebirth of Aquatic

Oh abandoned Blog. I've let you down with my prolonged absence. But in light of oil spills, crab seasons, and my ever-loyal readers-- I cannot stay away from you. Aquatic Blog is back (in baby blue!) with a crop of exciting new aquatic tales...

I thought it best, on this relaunching post, to visit Aquatic Blog's personal Mecca-- The Monterey Bay Aquarium. Opened in October of 1984, the MBA - along with its sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (in Moss Landing) is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Funded largely by the Packard family, it has over 35,000 plants and animals, and 550 species. The famous Outer Bay exhibit alone contains over 1 million gallons of sea water. MBA was also featured in Startrek IV, "The Voyage Home" (where it was apparently called "The Sausalito Cetacean Institute"). You can check out the MBA website -- even send aquarium e-cards.

Special Friend to Aquatic Blog visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and brought us back these lovely photos:

Stay tuned for more exciting aquatic blogs to come...

(Incidentally, this re-launching is in the memory of one Gilda the Goldfish -- couldn't have aqua-blogged without her:)