Monday, 2 March 2009

We'll send him a red cap and a Speedo.

Whenever people ask me, and they often do, which Wes Anderson film best evokes what it’s like to be a scientist, I say “Why, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou of course”.

If I thought I could fund my research by making exciting and colourful popular films about my findings, I absolutely would. The crucial difference here is that Steve Zissou et al.’s data look like this (Fig. 1).



Fig. 1 Crayon Pony Fish

Any samples I deal with are either pus or blood. Apparently the film-going public just aren’t that interested. I had assumed that this was the case for most other scientists. Then I see THIS…



Fig. 2 “Oh hai!”

Meet “Psychedelica”, a new species of fish reported by Ted Pietsch and colleagues in the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

Isn’t it wonderful? Clearly the creature’s name was inspired by its migraine-inducing good looks but, as the press release points out, “Psychedelica is perhaps even more apt given the cockamamie way the fish swim”.

Members of Histiophryne psychedelica, or H. psychedelica, propel their crazy selves along by pushing off from the sea floor with their fins and expelling water from tiny grill openings on their side to jet themselves forward. They don’t seem to concern themselves with steering too much. Fortunately, they have “gelatinous bodies covered with thick folds of skin” to protect them as they bumble along looking for food.

The video is well worth a look. Little beast made my day.

Psychedelica image ©David Hall/seaphotos.com

6 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

They don’t seem to concern themselves with steering too much. Fortunately, they have “gelatinous bodies covered with thick folds of skin” to protect them as they bumble along looking for food. - why, you are describing me to a t! At last, I have found my real daddy!

Those are quite amazing looking creatures. I do believe you should make some Life Aquatic type films with your lab subjects. You know they are very photogenic.

Allison said...

Those are quite amazing, indeed. I couldn't look too long. Don't want to bring my migraine back. ;)

Karen's Mouth said...

Haha! Don't tell me Barb, you have to carefully apply an inch of slap every morning to conceal those peachy stripes. The project I'm on at the moment is looking at stress and wound healing. I happen to think that open wounds do have their own kind of beauty, but experience tells me I am in a minority!

Don't look in his eyes Allison! That's exactly what he wants you to do. Cool though isn't he?

womaninblack said...

Blimey, that is one spooky fish. Don't stare at it for too long before looking at this bad boy:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4929620/Fish-with-human-faces-spotted-in-South-Korea.html

I wish I was clever enough to insert a link on blogger.com. Sadly, I looked at fish for too long as a child and suffered horrendous mental scarring as a result.

Karen's Mouth said...

Good grief those are some freaky looking fish. Really pretty unpleasant. They give me the dark feeling.

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