23rd March 2014
Two color morphs of the yellow shrimp goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus), so named due to its commensal relationship with snapping shrimp of the genus Alpheus.
Photos © Paddy Ryan
22nd March 2014
The tompot blenny (Parablennius gattorugine) has a long body with a single long dorsal fin and two stubby pelvic fins used to prop itself up. Like most blennies, it is typically curious and inquisitive, making it a favorite for divers to photograph and interact with.
Photo © Sergio Gosálves
21st March 2014
Cursed with the face of a B-list horror movie monster, the common stargazer (Kathetostoma laeve) has its eyes situated on the top of its head. This allows it to bury itself in the sand and still be able to see prey swimming overhead. Armed with sharp teeth and two venomous spines (one behind each gill cover), they are formidable predators and are unafraid to snap at anything that may disturb them. They can grow up to 75 cm in length and typically prey upon passing fish and crustaceans.
5th August 2013
Like crocodile ice fish, Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) produce special proteins in their tissues and blood that behave as an antifreeze. They grow slowly, reaching sexual maturity between eight and ten years and growing up to 2.2 m in length. They’re typically found on the seabed, but will swim up to feed on a range of prey items from fish to prawns. Because it grows so large, it doesn’t have many natural predators outside of some toothed whales and elephant seals. Antarctic toothfish do not have swim bladders, rather they have light bones and high body fat contents, allowing them to achieve neutral buoyancy (their density matches the density of the water they inhabit).
12th July 2013
The pineapplefish (Cleidopus gloriamaris) is covered in thick, modified scales that provide it with a suit of spined armor. Pineapplefish live under rock shelves and in caves. They prefer these dark places because of the bioluminescent light they give off along their lower jaws when their mouths are open. This helps them find their prey, like smaller fish and crustaceans.
12th July 2013
Conger eels (Conger conger) are a common sight for divers, much like their close relatives, moray eels. They are typically nocturnal, emerging from their hideaways in shipwrecks and rock crevices to hunt at night. Reaching lengths of up to 3 m, conger eels are smooth, snake-like fish with very powerful bodies. As adults, conger eels migrate in the summer to deeper waters of the Mediterranean and Atlantic to spawn and subsequently die. A single female can lay as many as eight million eggs, which will hatch into larvae that take between five and fifteen years to reach sexual maturity.
13th May 2013
Hardtail Moray Eel (Anarchias galapagensis)
28th March 2013
Excluding chondrosteans, lobe-finned fishes (lungfish and coelacanths), and non-teleost neopterygians (gar and the bowfin), all bony fishes (Osteichthyes) are classified as teleosts. They are the major lineage of neopterygians and shortly after their initial evolution, the diversity within this group of fish exploded, foreshadowing the immense diversity of fish that now exists. Pictured is the anatomy of a yellow perch (Perca flavescens), a common North American freshwater fish.
28th March 2013
Evolving directly from the earliest ray-finned fishes are the chondrosteans. The most primitive of all ray-finned fishes, chondrosteans have skeletons made of both cartilage and bone. Living members include sturgeons, paddlefishes, and bichir. Pictured are three extinct chondrosteans and a bichir, with their respective genus names listed.
12th March 2013
Electric eels (Electrophorus electricus) are not actually eels at all. They are giant-sized members of the knifefish order. When fully grown, these fish can be as large as a foot in diameter and 2.5 m in length. It has no dorsal fins, but one long fin that runs along the ventral side of its body. Their eyesight is quite poor, so they rely on producing weak electrical pulses to sense the environment around them. Electric eels are also capable of producing bursts of up to 600 volts, which is powerful enough to kill surrounding fishes and potentially even humans that might be near them.
12th March 2013
Although the individual pictured is only a fingerling, milkfish (Chanos chanos) can grow to be 6 ft in length. They are large, fast-moving filter feeders that tolerate a wide range of salinities, but generally prefer freshwater. They are catadromous, meaning they swim out to sea to spawn, but spend the majority of their lives upstream in fresh or brackish water.
11th March 2013
Native to western Africa and commonly found in still, murky, muddy waters of rivers, lakes, and swamps, the elephantnose fish (Gnathosomus petersii) possesses a weak electrical system that functions as a kind of radar to detect obstacles, food, and mates. The highly mobile, finger-like appendage on its chin is used for probing the muddy bottom in search of food. The elephantnose has an unusually large brain that, in relation to body mass, is equaled only by that of humans. Perhaps for this reason, it has a remarkable ability to learn and its playful personality makes it a popular aquarium fish.
10th March 2013
The Indonesian coelacanth (Latimeria menadoensis) was discovered very recently (late 1990s), and as such there is not a lot of information regarding its behavior or ecology. However, because it is physically extremely similar to the coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) found off the coast of South Africa (discovered in the 1938), scientists can assume the two fish have similar life habits. Genetic analysis has revealed that the two species diverged from one another around 5 million years ago, effectively making both species of coelacanth living fossils.
10th March 2013
The West African lungfish (Protopterus annectens) is the largest of the four lungfish species found in Africa, reaching lengths of up to 2 m. Rather than gills, it has a pair of lungs that it uses to obtain oxygen. When the dry season comes, this fish makes a mucous-filled cocoon for itself and burrows into the mud to keep its skin hydrated.
Photo by Jibran Shariff
2nd February 2013
Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) are bottom feeders that are not known for being particularly beautiful. Growing up to 1.2 m in length and weighing as much as 37 kg, these fish can be big, ugly muck-dwellers.
However, selective breeding has come up with some very beautiful varieties of Cyprinus carpio. Koi fish, or nishikigoi, are bred for their beautiful, bright colors and often kept in privately owned ponds for their aesthetic value.
(Photo 1 / 2 / 3)