Monday, January 9, 2012


Here's a twist. The mimic octupus, which can impersonate fish and sea snakes, is itself mimicked - by a small fish that camouflages itself against the octopus's pattern. The 1st-of-their-kind photos above (click them if you can't see the fish) are from a video shot off the coast of South Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, by researchers from the University of Göttingen, Germany. Godehard Kopp captured the black-marble jawfish disguising itself in order to use the octopus as protection while it forages for food. After examining the footage, Dr. Luiz Rocha at the California Academy of Sciences stated, "This is a unique case in the reefs not only because the model for the jawfish is a mimic itself, but also because this is the first case of a jawfish involved in mimicry." Fellow ichthyologist Rich Ross added, "We've never seen anything like that before....We're not even sure if the jawfish are actually one species. The one from Indonesia might even be a new species."

Also discovered hiding recently was a large and healthy bottom-dwelling sand sole, a flatfish (example here) that managed to escape notice for 15 years in a 40,000-liter rockpool tank at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire, U.K. Acting curator Colin Grist said, "Although we haven't been aware of its existence it seems to have been doing extremely well. It's in perfect condition and has obviously been feeding well and probably waiting until the lights go out to go hunting. It's extraordinary that it's managed to have remained hidden for so long but it does go to show just how well evolved it is to its natural environment."

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