- Zoology Blogs

ShukerNature: THE SIPHONOPHORE FISH AND THE GIBBER FISH


 

A
siphonophore fish depicted on an unofficial postage stamp launched by the self-proclaimed
Georgian state of Abkhazia in 1998 (NB – its erstwhile genus has been
misspelled on this stamp as Kasidorom,
as a substitute of Kasidoron) (public area)

Appearances
can deceive, in additional methods than one, as exemplified right here by the really exceptional
case of two very totally different fishes that turned out to be one and the identical. Let
me clarify.

In
1965, a small however spectacular fish known as Kasidoron edom was described
in a Bulletin of Marine Science paper
by C. Richard Robins and Donald P. de Sylva from the College of Miami’s Institute
of Marine Science (click on right here to entry this paper). Sole member
of a completely new genus and taxonomic household
(till a second, related species, Ok. latifrons, was recorded in 1969, from
the western Indian Ocean), it turned generally known as the siphonophore fish.

 
Drawings by Catherine Hale of
the siphonophore fish, from the above-mentioned Bulletin of Marine Science
paper by C. Richard Robins and Donald P. de Sylva (© Catherine
Hale/C. Richard Robins/Donald P. de Sylva/Bulletin
of Marine Science
– reproduced right here on a strictly non-commercial truthful use foundation
for academic/assessment functions solely)

This
was because of its astonishing pelvic fins. These had been vastly modified, the third ray in each having
remodeled into a protracted, multi-branched tree-like organ dubbed the pelvic tree,
hanging beneath its physique, terminating in a collection of luminous(?), leaf-like sacs, and carefully resembling the tentacular appendages
of these superficially jellyfish-like composite creatures the siphonophores
(exemplified by the well-known Portuguese man-o’-war Physalia).

Recognized
at the moment solely from waters of round 6-165 ft depth, about 150 miles east of
Florida’s Cape Canaveral and northeast of Bermuda, this 1.25-in-long
velvet-black fish attracted considerable curiosity, on account of its conjoined
pelvic fins’ distinctive, extraordinary construction. This was assumed to be a tool
for heading off predators, as they might be more likely to mistake its innocent type
for the lethal stinging tentacles of real siphonophores.

 
Two siphonophore fish images
found by me not too long ago
right here on the Quora
web site (No copyright/possession particulars for them are given there, and regardless of appreciable
on-line searches I’ve been unable to find any both, so I’m together with these
photographs on a strictly non-commercial Honest Use foundation for academic/assessment functions
solely)

After
a time, nevertheless, the rest of this fish’s anatomy started to obtain
consideration too, and researches finally disclosed that despite its
distinctive look the siphonophore fish was not a brand new species in any respect.

On
the opposite, it was unmasked because the hitherto-unknown juvenile type of an odd
little species known as the gibber fish (aka gibberfish) Gibberichthyes
pumilus
, which had been formally described and named in 1933. It had been
found within the waters round Bermuda and the Bahamas.

 
Sketch of the gibber fish G. pumilis (Haplochromis/Wikipedia – public
area); click on
right here to view a color {photograph} of a gibber fish.

Beforehand
identified solely from 4 specimens, this deepwater denizen attains a complete size
of 4.5 in, and inhabits the western North Atlantic, in addition to the South
Pacific waters near the Samoan Islands. With a really massive head, a deep,
laterally flattened physique, and completely regular fins missing any vestige of its
juvenile’s astounding tentacle-impersonating pelvic tree, the gibber fish is
positioned inside a taxonomic household of its personal, most akin to the squirrelfishes
and slimeheads.

Furthermore,
because the second siphonophore fish species, Ok.
latifrons
, has additionally been reclassified as a gibber fish, it’s now generally known as G. latifrons.

 

The complete set of unofficial
Abkhazia postage stamps, which incorporates not solely the siphonophore fish stamp
(backside left) but in addition a stamp depicting the bushy fish [see below for details]
(high left) (public area)

Apparently,
a really related situation of utmost metamorphosis from juvenile to grownup was extra not too long ago revealed with one other enigmatic,
extremely distinctive little fish that had lengthy puzzled ichthyologists – the
so-called bushy fish Mirapinna esau. You
can examine its personal very intriguing historical past right here on ShukerNature, and likewise right here in an early cryptozoology article
of mine reproduced on ShukerNature.

This ShukerNature
weblog article is expanded from my e book The
Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals
.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *