The Pacific spiny hound’s nightmare begins with the teeth: sharp as needles, located at the edge of the bulbous lip. A single fin surrounds the fish’s head like a mohawk, and spiked studs cover almost every inch of its body, reminiscent of an armored vehicle from the movie “Mad Max”.
But the nightmare passed quickly: The thorny creature in the Pacific Ocean was just three inches long.
Karly Cohen, PhD. biology candidate at the University of Washington, said recently.
Ms. Cohen and her colleagues discovered that this fish has a very strange evolutionary and life history. In one study Published in December in the Journal of Morphology, the researchers looked at how Pacific spiny animals developed such armor and how they used it.
The famous range of Pacific spiny fishes stretches from the coast of Washington State up through western Canada and Alaska, across the Bering Sea to eastern Russia and down to northern Japan. They live in water several feet deep and can vary in size between a golf ball and a human head.
In addition to looking like a ball with many spikes, the striped species also has suckers on the bottom of the body similar to those on the tentacles of an octopus. They evolved a long time ago from the ventral fins, Cohen said, and allow the zebrafish – a terrible swimmer – to cling to rocks, coral and other surfaces and not be swayed by the strong currents of the region. tide swept away.
“Being a well-rounded fish in a watery environment is hard work,” Ms. Cohen said.
Pacific spiny lampreys are often ambush predators, sitting and waiting to suck up small fish, crustaceans, or other creatures that pass by. Its fixed lifestyle means it often serves as a platform for algae, helping to camouflage in its rocky surroundings, said Leo Smith, a hydrologist at the University of Kansas who was not involved. research, said.
The lorises’ habit of staying also allows the males to be like stay-at-home dads. The females usually lay their eggs in empty shells, and the males fiercely guard them until they hatch.
Research by Ms. Cohen and colleagues, and recently accepted in the Journal of Morphology, found that lumps in men also fluoresce bright red. This can help them hide while tending to the eggs; Algae growing on the hooves will fluoresce the same color as the fish.
The young, after hatching, sink to the bottom of the sea and cling to something with their fully developed suckers. “They were just there for a while, like, ‘This is my safe place, this is where I go,’ Ms Cohen said.
The researchers performed CT scans on lumps they caught off the coast of the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratory on San Juan Island between Vancouver Island in Canada and mainland Washington State. They discovered that the scales were made of enamel and were not fish scales at all, but tooth scales. “They come from the teeth,” said Ella Woodruff, a student at Carleton College in Minnesota and an author of the December study.
The study found that Pacific spiny juveniles begin their lives with armor just around the mouth, where the teeth will be. As the child grows, the wisdom teeth spread toward the tail, like a version of wisdom teeth. The armor protects them from predators and the turbulent environment of the tidal zone, where collision debris can do severe damage to an unprotected softball.
“It protects their bones from secondary infection from impact, and the plaques grow back if they fall off, providing additional coverage and flexibility,” says Dr.
Usually a full suit of armor would cause trouble for a clumsy swimmer. But enamel is lighter than other bones, so it doesn’t weigh them down as much, Ms. Cohen said.
Dr Smith says the new study helps explain why the armor of the Pacific lamprey is so different from the armor of other animals in the intertidal zone, and why the creature looks so different. such strange.
“These things are like Scooby-Doo villains,” he said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/science/pacific-spiny-lumpsucker-fish.html The Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker is fitted to the teeth