Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Monkfish is Mucho Ugly!

Monkfish (or Headfish) is the English name of a number of types of fish in the northwest Atlantic, most notably the species of the anglerfish genus Lophius and the angelshark genus Squatina. The term is also occasionally used for a European sea monster more often called a sea monk.

Monkfish is the most common English name for the genus Lophius in the northwest Atlantic but goosefish[citation needed] is used as the equivalent term on the eastern coast of North America. Lophius has three long filaments sprouting from the middle of the head; these are the detached and modified three first spines of the anterior dorsal fin. As in most anglerfish species, the longest filament is the first, which terminates in an irregular growth of flesh, the esca. This modified fin ray is movable in all directions. This esca is used as a lure to attract other fishes, which monkfish then typically swallow whole. Experiments have shown, however, that whether the prey has been attracted to the lure or not is not strictly relevant, as the action of the jaws is an automatic reflex triggered by contact with the esca.

It grows to a length of more than 5 ft; specimens of 3 ft are common.

Two species Lophius piscatorius and Lophius budegassa are found in north-western Europe and referred to as monkfish, with L. piscatorius by far the most common species around the British Isles and of major fishery interest. In Europe and North America, the texture of the tail meat of fish of the genus Lophius, is sometimes compared to lobster tail and has been alluded to as the "poor man's lobster." According to Seafood Watch, monkfish is currently on the list of fish that American consumers who are sustainability minded should avoid.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Stonefish - Ugly and Dangerous!

The Stonefish is part of a family of fishes whose members are dangerous or fatal to humans. They are found in the coastal regions of Indo-Pacific oceans. They are primarily marine, though some species are known to live in rivers. Its species have potent neurotoxins secreted from glands at the base of their needle-like dorsal fin spines.

The sting causes excruciating pain and a great deal of swelling rapidly develops causing death to tissues. The severity of the symptoms depends on the depth of penetration and the number of spines penetrated. The symptoms of the venom are muscle weakness, temporary paralysis and shock, which may result in death if not treated.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Video of the Gulper Eel

Pictures and written descriptions just don't do the Gulper Eel justice. When I say the Gulper Eel is one ugly fish, I mean the Gulper Eel is one uuuuuuugly fish! See for yourself:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Six Feet of Ugly: Gulper Eel

This otherworldly looking dweller of the deep goes by many names: Gulper eel, umbrella mouth, pelican fish and FUGLY!

The Gulper Eel, scientifically known as Eurypharynx pelecanoides is actually a species of Saccopharyngiformes. Saccopharyngiformes is an order of unusual ray-finned fish superficially similar to eels, but with many internal differences. Most of the fish in this order are deep-sea types known from only a handful of specimens. Saccopharyngiformes are also bioluminescent in several species. Some, such as the swallowers, can live as deep as 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in the ocean, well into the aphotic zone.

Saccopharyngiforms lack several bones, such as the symplectic bone, the bones of the opercle, and ribs. They also have no scales, pelvic fins, or swim bladder. The jaws are quite large, and several types are notable for being able to consume fish larger than themselves. Their myomeres (muscle segments) are V-shaped instead of W-shaped like in all other fish, and their lateral line has no pores, instead it is modified to groups of elevated tubules.

Fast Facts

Diet: The gulper eel eats fish, copepods, shrimp, and plankton. It uses its mouth like a net by opening its large mouth and swimming at its prey.

Size: 3 to 6 feet.

Appearance: The gulper eel is much different in appearance than most other eel species. The most notable feature on this bizarre creature is its large and loosely hinged mouth. Its pectoral fins are so tiny as to be almost nonexistent. Unlike many other deep sea creatures, it has very small eyes. It is believed that the eyes evolved to detect faint traces of light rather than form images. The gulper eel also has a very long, whip-like tail. They are usually black or dark green in color with a white line on either side of its dorsal fin.

Did you know? The end of the tail is tipped with a light-producing organ known as a photophore. Through a process known as bioluminescence, the photophore glows pink and can give off occasional red flashes. Since the eel's body is not built for chasing prey, It is believed that the eel uses this light as a fishing lure to attract fish and other creatures close to its enormous mouth. When the prey is in range, the eel lunges and snaps is up in its gigantic mouth.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2 tons of ugly

The boys and I first came across this brizarre creature 2 years ago on a camping trip to Monterey. Even in a million gallon tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest in the world, this fish can not be missed. Meet the California Sunfish, or the Mola Mola. This sucker is huge, with an average weight of 1.5 - 2 tons. The main diet of the sunfish is jellyfish (see below) which - being nutritionally poor - must be consumed in large amounts.

Animal Facts

Scientific Name:Mola mola
Habitat:Open Waters
Animal Type:Fishes
Diet:Mainly jellies and other zooplankters, squid, fish, crustaceans, brittle stars
Size:to 14 feet and nearly 5,000 pounds; molas in Monterey Bay up to 1000 pounds or more
Range:Seasonally distributed in all tropical and temperate oceans

Interesting fact:Females of the species can produce more eggs than any other known vertebrate.

To view a live webcam of the sunfish in action, visit:

Fascinating Facts About Jellyfish, Part IV

Jellyfish fact: Jellyfish has been around for more than 650 million years which means that they outdate both dinosaurs and sharks.

Jellyfish fact: Different species of jellyfish can be found in all the worlds’ oceans. A type of jellyfish (that isn’t considered “true” jellyfish by science) can even be found in freshwater.

Jellyfish fact: A species of jellyfish, the Box jellyfish (sea wasp) kills more people than any other marine creature each year.

Jellyfish fact: The worlds largest known jellyfish can reach a diameter of 2.5 m / 8ft and its tentacles can grow to be half the length of a football field.

Jellyfish fact: Jellyfishes uses jet propulsion to make their way through to the oceans of the world. Some jellyfish are avid swimmers while other mostly drifts with the currents.

Jellyfish fact: Some species of jellyfish contains a lot of protein and are thought to be able to play a large role in ending hunger and malnutrition in poor areas around the world.

Jellyfish fact: Jellyfish are able to reproduce both sexually and asexually during different parts of their life cycle.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ugly Gets Beautiful - Giant Jellyfish Swimming

Even the ugliest of ugly fish can be beautiful...well, I don't know about the Blob Sculpin...but the jellyfish sure is gorgeous and graceful.

Check out this video of a giant jellyfish gliding through the ocean: