X-ray of the Smithsonian's two-headed shark and other specimens

sharktwo The National Museum of Natural History's Sandra Raredon maintains the "fish library," a job that includes X-raying the specimens like this two-headed smooth-hound shark. Below, a small tooth sawfish and Atlantic angel shark.

"A Two-Headed Shark and Other X-Rayed Beauties at the Smithsonian"

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Jellyfish tank in derelict building

Tank

Artists Walter Hugo & Zoniel installed a jellyfish tank in the front of an abandoned building in Liverpool, creating a portal through the deteriorating facade into a beautiful other world. The installation, titled The Physical Possibility of Inspiring Imagination in the Mind of Somebody Living, is live streamed to London's Gazelli Art House. (via Laughing Squid)

Aquarrr

Major piranha attack in Argentina

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Yesterday, seventy people were injured by carnivorous fish while bathing in the aptly named Parana River in Rosario, Argentina. The fish were likely Pygocentrus palometa, a kind of piranha. (BBC News, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)

Autopsy of a sea monster

You've seen the oarfish — the 18-foot-long, serpent-like beastie that washed up on a California beach. Now, tag along with the scientists from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center as they dissect that monster ... a "once in a lifetime fish".

Secret behind strange hum heard on England's south coast

Midshipman fish

The likely source of a strange hum that has been disturbing residents of Hythe, near Southampton, England, has been identified: horny fish. The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) investigated the low-frequency noise and think it may be the sound of male midshipman fish eager to mate in a nearby estuary. "It's not beyond the realms of possibility," SAMS scientist Ben Wilson told The Telegraph. "There are certainly 'sonic fish' in the north Atlantic and the approaches to the English Channel."

Giant, rare "sea serpent" dragged to shore in California

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Jasmine Santana of the Catalina Island Marine Institute was snorkeling off the coast about 20 miles southwest of L.A. when she spotted an 18-foot-long oarfish. It was dead. From the AP:

"We've never seen a fish this big," said Mark Waddington, senior captain of the Tole Mour, CIMI's sail training ship. "The last oarfish we saw was three feet long."

Because oarfish dive more than 3,000 feet deep, sightings of the creatures are rare and they are largely unstudied, according to CIMI…

The carcass was on display Tuesday for 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students studying at CIMI. It will be buried in the sand until it decomposes and then its skeleton will be reconstituted for display, Waddington said.

"18-foot-long sea creature found off Calif. coast"

Scientifically accurate "Finding Nemo"

In which Nemo's mother dies, his father switches sex, and Nemo grows up into a male in order to mate with his now-female living parent. It's the ciiiiirrrrrcle of liiiiffffe!

Herring Wars: Attack of the Faroe Islands

Herring travel in schools billions of fish strong and, thanks the outsized role they've played in North American and European culture, they've been called the most influential fish in history. Now, threatened first by overfishing and then by the effects of climate change, international organizations have worked to set treaty limits on how many tons of the fish different countries can catch each year. The problem: The limits are more randomly applied, rather than being based on rigorous standards or rules. Now, some countries are voicing their displeasure by resisting the limits, altogether. Begun, these Herring Wars have.

Iceland resumes whale hunting, endangered Fin Whale killed


"Kristjan Loftsson, CEO of the the company Hvalur hf." Photo: News of Iceland.

Icelandic news outlets are reporting that an Icelandic whaling company, Hvalur hf, "caught its first fin whale yesterday evening," after sailing out yesterday with two boats, both due back in port today.

Fin whales are the second-largest whale, and are classified as an Endangered species.

From News of Iceland:

Read the rest

Scientists sequence the coelacanth genome

The coelacanth is one of a small handful of living fishes that are probably closely related much more ancient, extinct creatures — including, the first fish to haul itself up onto land. Now scientists have sequenced its genes and are digging through the data in search of genetic clues to how fish and land-dwelling animals are connected to one another. Among the finds so far, a gene that seems to be connected to how animals grow placentas. Coelacanths don't have placentas, but they do have eggs that hatch inside their own bodies.

The fish with clear blood

Ocellated icefish live deep underwater in the cold oceans surrounding the Poles. They have clear blood. If you remember your childhood biology classes, you should remember that this kind of makes no sense. After all, blood is red because of hemoglobin — the iron-rich protein that carries oxygen around in your blood stream. No hemoglobin, no oxygen. No oxygen, dead fishies. Right? Popular Science explains how ocellated icefish get around this little conundrum.

The fish of nightmares

This is not a Photoshop job. This is the very real toothy smile of sheepshead fish. It lives in North America, writes Becky Crew at the Running Ponies blog. And, like humans, it has both incisors and molars — perfect for masticating an omnivorous diet. Apparently, they also taste good, which should be some consolation. Worse comes to worse, we can always eat them.

An appreciation of the Sawfish, one of Earth's most threatened fish

"The earliest sawfishes likely arose in the shallow Tethys Sea, that ocean surrounded by the ancient continents of Godwanda and Laurasia, during the Cretaceous period at least 60 million years ago," writes Dr. M. at Deep Sea News.

These "sole survivors of an ancient bloodline" now number only seven species which roam the muddy bottoms of coastal areas, bays and estuaries. 

All sawfishes can move easily between fresh and saltwater and often venture deep upstream into rivers. The sawfish lifestyle puts this both their size and saw near humans.  All seven species are considered critically endangered by the IUCN.  As much as we have impacted them, sawfish have also greatly influenced our culture.

And now, they're one of the most threatened species on our planet. Thanks, humans!

More: Exaltation to Extinction for Sawfishes [Deep Sea News]

What you can learn from the million-dollar tuna

On Saturday, a bluefin tuna was sold at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market tuna auction for $1.76 million. Which is a little crazy. (Also crazy, the size of the fish in question.) But the amount paid for this specimen of a chronically overfished species doesn't really represent simple supply and demand, explains marine biologist Andrew David Thaler. It shouldn't be read as a measurement of tuna scarcity, he says, but rather as an artifact of culture (and marketing).

It is not good to be a weightless fish

Maybe somebody who speaks German can explain why this poor goldfish is being tortured. It's certainly interesting to watch the water in its tank float and blob around — while the fish struggles to follow. But I'm really unclear on the point of this particular experiment.

Via Miriam Goldstein