Fisherman catch first documented two-headed porpoises

Fishermen in the North Sea near the Nethelands caught the first two-headed porpoises ever documented. The trawler crew found the animal already dead in its nets. From Deinsea, the journal of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam:

"The crew of the fishing vessel thought it would be illegal to keep the dead porpoise and they threw the specimen back into the sea. Fortunately, first a series of photographs was taken. The specimen, however, is lost for science and natural history."

"The first case of conjoined twin harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena (Mammalia, Cetacea)" (Deinsea via Mysterious Universe)

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Why peeing on a jellyfish sting is actually a terrible idea

Acidic solutions can help neutralize the toxins from a jellyfish sting so why shouldn't you try to piss the pain away? (Reactions)

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When paddleboarding, this is not what you want to hear

An announcement from a police helicopter on Wednesday near Capistrano Beach, California:

"You are paddleboarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks. They are advising you exit the water in a calm manner. The sharks are as close as the surfline.” From the OC Register:

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(UPDATED!) Fish caught with very strange "tattoos"

SEE UPDATE BELOW

This mysteriously "tattooed" fish was caught near Lopez Jaena in the Misamis Occidental province of the Philippines. Some locals considered the fish a warning from the depths. They're actually right, as the likely non-magical explanation is that the fish was caught in a printed plastic bag floating in the ocean and the pattern transferred to the animal's scales over time. (Mysterious Universe)

UPDATE:

According to ABS-CBN, "Zosimo Tano who caught the fish, clarified... that the print on the fish's body came from his shirt, which he used to cover the fish."

(Thanks, Teddy-Bob_Silas!)

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Incredible close-up encounter with great white shark

The filmmaker was diving off Gansbaai, Western Cape, South Africa.

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Octopus suckers don't just suck

The amazing suckers on octopus arms aren't just for sucking. They also are used to smell and taste. To deal with all that sensory input, the vast majority of an octopus's brain cells are in its eight arms!

“It’s more efficient to put the nervous cells in the arm,” neurobiologist Binyamin Hochner, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told KQED's Deep Look. “The arm is a brain of its own.”

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See a fantastically strange red seadragon on video for the first time

Scientists declared the ruby seadragon a new species in 2015, but that was based on dead specimens in a museum. Now though, Scripps Institution of Oceanography biologist Greg Rouse who led the team that originally discovered the species, managed to find two of the wonderful fish swimming around the Recherche Archipelago, off the south coast of Western Australia. Each one is about 10 feet long. Just kidding. They're 10 inches long. From National Geographic:

After four dives with a remote-controlled mini-submarine, they managed to film two ruby seadragons more than 167 feet underwater, as the fish swam through rocky gardens of sponges and nibbled at their prey, most likely tiny crustaceans called mysids...

...The footage confirms that ruby seadragons use a different means of camouflage than its closest relatives. Common and leafy seadragons are covered in leafy outgrowths meant to camouflage the fish as they swim through seagrasses. The ruby seadragon, however, lacks them—opting instead for a scarlet body, an efficient way to disguise itself from predators in the dark depths.

Most surprisingly, the video suggests that the ruby seadragon can use its curled tail to grasp objects.

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More than 20,000 dead fish mysteriously washed up in Nova Scotia

Tens of thousands of fish, starfish, scallops, crabs, lobsters, and other ocean life washed up dead this week at Savory Park on the western coast of Nova Scotia. The cause of the massive fish death is not yet known. From CNN:

Environmental officials are testing the water for pesticides and oxygen levels for possible clues...

While toxic chemical exposure can be one cause, most fish kills are attributed to low concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water, according to the USGS.

Just this year, mass fish deaths were reported in Florida's Indian River Lagoon and Hongcheng Lake in Haikou,China.

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First ever video of Ghost Shark, with sex organ on its head, alive in the ocean

Ghost sharks, aka chimaeras, are elusive relatives of sharks and rays that live in the black depths of the ocean, as far down as 2,600 meters. The Ghost Shark was captured on video by a remotely operated vehicle deployed on a geology expedition by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in waters off Hawaii and California. The scientists who analyzed the video think that it's a pointy-nosed blue chimaera (Hydrolagus trolli) that usually calls the waters off Australia and New Zealand home. This is the first time researchers have known this species to swim in the Northern Hemisphere. From National Geographic:

Unlike those more well-known sharks, chimaeras don’t have rows of ragged teeth, but instead munch up their prey—mollusks, worms, and other bottom-dwellers—with mineralized tooth plates.

A pattern of open channels on their heads and faces, called lateral line canals, contain sensory cells that sense movement in the water and help the ghost sharks locate lunch.

And perhaps most fascinating, male chimaeras sport retractable sex organs on their foreheads.

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Real photograph of the horrible Muriwai Monster!

Behold the Muriwai Monster, a horrifying beast that washed up last weekend on Muriwai Beach in Auckland, New Zealand. It's thought that the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit New Zealand’s South Island, raising the sea bed by two meters, spurred this evil behemoth to surface.

Unfortunately, some non-believers are insisting that the Muriwai Monster is actually a hunk of driftwood covered in gooseneck barnacles. They'll learn, as soon as the Muriwai Monster awakens.

(via News.com.au)

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Scientists find first of its kind two-headed shark

University of Malaga scientists were studying the cardiovascular systems of Atlantic sawmill catsharks (catshark (Galeus atlanticus) when they found one with two heads. This is the first time that dicephaly (two-headedness) has been seen in an egg-laying shark. From National Geographic:

The causes of dicephaly aren't known, but the researchers—led by Valentín Sans-Coma of the University of Malaga—suspect that genetics are the most likely culprit (rather than some environmental factor, à la Blinky, the three-eyed fish, from The Simpsons)...

"We see two-headed sharks occasionally," says George Burgess, director of the Florida program for shark research at the Florida Museum of Natural History. "It's an anomaly, caused by a genetic misfire. There are lots of different kinds of genetic misfires, and most don't make it out of the womb."

"There’s a reason you don’t see a lot of sharks with two heads swimming around: they stand out like a sore thumb, so they get eaten," adds Burgess. "They would have trouble swimming and probably digesting food."

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Artist-in-residence stuck on bankrupt container ship that no port will accept

British artist Rebecca Moss went aboard the Hanjin Geneva container ship for a "23 Days at Sea Residency." But the company that owns the ship went bankrupt on August 31, and ports all over the world have barred Hanjin's ships because the shipping line is unable to pay the port and service fees. Read the rest

Ominous music in shark videos makes people more negative about the fish

A new study suggests that the ominous background music often heard in shark documentaries correlates with viewers' fearful and negative opinions of sharks. (For the source of this musical cliche, see the 1975 trailer for Jaws above.) From the Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers paper in the scientific journal PLOS One:

Using three experiments, we show that participants rated sharks more negatively and less positively after viewing a 60-second video clip of swimming sharks set to ominous background music, compared to participants who watched the same video clip set to uplifting background music, or silence. This finding was not an artifact of soundtrack alone because attitudes toward sharks did not differ among participants assigned to audio-only control treatments. This is the first study to demonstrate empirically that the connotative attributes of background music accompanying shark footage affect viewers’ attitudes toward sharks. Given that nature documentaries are often regarded as objective and authoritative sources of information, it is critical that documentary filmmakers and viewers are aware of how the soundtrack can affect the interpretation of the educational content.

"The Effect of Background Music in Shark Documentaries on Viewers' Perceptions of Sharks" (PLOS One via Dangerous Minds)

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Fishing trip surprise: Tiger Shark vs. Hammerhead!

College student Ryan Willsea captured this video a few weeks ago while on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tiger sharks are "expert at taking advantage of situations when a potential prey item is compromised," Florida Museum of Natural History shark researcher George Burgess told National Geographic. "And nothing makes an animal more compromised than having a hook in its mouth and being pulled to a boat."

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"Earthquake" off Daytona Beach, Florida was really military test

On a Saturday, a 3.7 magnitude "earthquake" was detected about 168 miles off Florida's Daytona Beach Shores. It now appears that the quake was actually a "shock trial," an explosive test conducted by the US Navy to test the fortitude of the USS Jackson, a new combat ship. From the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

Asked about the reported earthquake on Monday, Dale Eng, a public information officer for the Navy’s Sea Systems Command in Washington, said the Navy is working on a statement it expects to release this week.

Seismographs as far away as Minnesota, Texas and Oklahoma, as well as along the coast of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, registered the event on Saturday, said Bruce Presgrave, a geophysicist and shift supervisor at the Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in California.

(After being shown the above photo of a shock trial conducted last month) Presgrave said, "That's a smoking gun, isn't it?"

Presgrave planned to contact the Navy to learn more about the charges used in the shock trials as part of the agency's ongoing investigation.

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See the first footage of a Great White Shark taking a nap

"She appears to be in an almost catatonic state," says the narrator. I wonder what she's dreaming about.

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Amazing photo of fish inside a jellyfish

Ocean photographer Tim Samuel captured these startling photos of a fish swallowed by a jellyfish off Byron Bay, Australia's Pass Beach.

"(The fish) seemed to be struggling a little bit, as it would swim around, it would try to swim in a straight line but the jellyfish would knock it off course, would send it in little circles or loops," Samuel told CNN. "It was a tough decision, I definitely thought about setting it free, but in the end decided to just let nature run its course."

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