Goliath Tigerfish

WE’VE MOVED! COME AND SEE US HERE YOU BIG SMASHER!

Don’t worry it’ll only attack you if you’re wet… meet the goliath tigerfish of the river Congo.

... and this is the eating end

... and this is the eating end

He’s a smasher isn’t he! One learned friend of The Proceedings described him as ‘…the fiercest fish that swims. Let others hold forth as advocates for the mako shark, the barracudas or the blue fish of the Atlantic. To them I say ‘Pish and Tush’’. Strong words I know, and I can only apologize that such offensive language has been used in front of lady folk, however I felt it prudent to establish just what a vicious brute he is.

A huge bollard of darting fishy muscle, the goliath tigerfish is quite simply an eating machine. Those teeth are set into a hard bony jaw so that when it snaps its unbelievable gob shut they interlock like a set of shears. If you happen to have rolled up your trousers for a paddle in the Congo it would be clever thinking to keep the noise down, as the goliath tigerfish’s sense of hearing is absolutely tip-top, a small bone connects its ear to its swim bladder which acts like an amplifier. The other rather brilliant news about this highly-astute uber-strong swimming set of gnashers is that they shoal… in huge numbers. Attacks on humans have been reported but not verified.

goliath tigerfish: not very cuddly

Though there has to be a bit more than ‘bitiness’ to get you into The Proceedings of the Ever So Strange. You see all around the world wildly different creatures look a bit similar. One reason for this is that there are only so many things in the world that make a sufficient supper. What’s more evolution only has what it’s given to work with… much like the Royal families’ portrait artist. The foot of an elephant contain the same bones as the foot of a mouse. The neck of a giraffe has exactly the same amount of vertebrae as that of Winston Churchill. Combine this fact with there are only so many meal tickets in the wild, you get animals that aren’t closely related who look remarkably similar… like the anteaters, the aardvarks and the pangolins for example. Evolution has come up with the same answer to the same question, just in a different place. Convergent evolution as learned types call it. Why all these musings I hear you cry, well put simply the goliath tigerfish is Africa’s version of the river Amazon’s renowned piranha… and indeed it is incredibly similar… just much much bigger.

Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm  Comments (4)  

Ocean Sunfish

WE’VE MOVED! COME JOIN US YOU BIG SMASHER!

The largest bony fish in the world is the incredible ocean sunfish Mola mola, a bizarre circular fish that can reach more than 4M across, weighing up to 2,300 kg… about the same weight as an Asian bull elephant… which is a lot… but don’t tell him I told you so as that would be terrible manners.

snfish

This enormous bony fish gets its name from its behaviour of thermal recharging, basking his big flat body to catch the warmth of the sun’s rays, after deep dives into the depths of the chilly ocean. Lying flat like a mirror image of the sun. In fact it has a number of apt monickers, in many countries it is known as the moonfish, in Germany it’s “the swimming head”, in Poland the “head alone” and in China it’s the “toppled car” which makes absolutely no bloody sense whatsoever.

Mola_mola

Talking of talking sense, I’m a simple man who likes to keep things elementary; I call my dog “doggy”, Lady Gwendolene “darling” and a Frenchman a “stinking coward”. So I thought it pertinent to bring it to your attention that the very word ‘fish’ is probably misleading. There are 9 different classes of vertebrates; mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are a familiar and really rather nicely defined four, incredibly the other five are all different classes of fish. The Agnatha; weird eel-like fish like the hagfish and lamprey. The Acanthodii and Placodermi, who didn’t do frightfully well and went extinct. Then there are the Chondricythes, with their cartilaginous skeletons, like the sharks and rays. Finally there are the more ‘fishy’ fish, the Osteicythes, the bony fish like the tuna, the cod and our smashing ocean sunfish.

sunfish

Thankfully the ocean sunfish doesn’t care what you call him as he’s bally stupid, the most stupid animal in the sea, after a Giraffe of course. His brain is quite literally the size of a peanut, weighing in at 4g. He doesn’t really need it of course, nature is like that… terribly efficient, he happily bimbles around the ocean, eating jellyfish and well having a bit of lie down, eating another blobby thing… and that’s it really. He eats the easiest of prey; starfish, sponges what not… anything that can’t get away from the slow moving oaf to be perfectly honest… it’s fair to say that the ocean sunfishes prey have about as much chance as a biscuit in a fat man’s bed. So how did he get so big? Well quite simply by eating lots and lots. All the really big animals around the planet have access to tonnes and tonnes of food. The elephant chows down on the grasses and brows of Africa and Asia. The blue whale, who incidentally has a tongue the same length as an elephant, slurps up tonnes and tonnes of krill. The ocean sunfish, the largest bony fish in the world, eats jellyfish and sponges… lots and lots of them.

Published in: on October 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm  Comments (4)  

King of Herrings

We only really know a smidgeon about this most marvellous looking beastie, the king of herrings, a huge sword of sparkling silver resplendent with a crown… an oceanic majesty.

oar

What we can tell you is the king of herrings is the world’s longest fish, up to an incredible 12 metres long. It’s a type of oarfish and more than one researcher has said that it gives off electric shocks when touched. A group of frogmen recently reported that it moves by undulating its enormous fin along its back, keeping its body quite straight. And that’s about it… it’s fair to say we know bugger all about this beauty.

So when it came to an evening talk on this king of herrings we were rather stumped as to what to say down at The Proceedings. Many people, new ages types mainly, wag their finger at us men of science and point out that ‘we think we’ve got it all worked out’ well no we haven’t… it’s actually that we are rather fascinated about this wonderful and intriguing place we call home. This of course led us to chat about what we don’t know about, a subject that could fill the entire library of The Proceedings of the Ever so Strange thricefold.

oarfish

We don’t know about the universe, most of it appears to be missing for a start off, and the whole thing should be falling apart… but it isn’t. We haven’t got a clue if there is life out there… though according to the Drake equation there should be about 10,000 life forms in the universe who have the ability to communicate… and therefore countless others. We certainly don’t know if something was trying to communicate with us when a thirty-seven-second long signal came from Sagittarius in 1977, the so called Wow! signal after the astronomer on watch couldn’t help but scribble his excitement by the side of the feedout.

We don’t even know about our planet… what the weather will do from day to day or when a volcano will erupt or the ground will shake. We haven’t got the foggiest how many organisms there are, at best guess we think there is somewhere in the order of between 2 and 100 million… pretty accurate I’m sure you’ll agree. We don’t know about what is at the bottom of the ocean or what made a huge noise there in the summer of 1997… a noise that was heard by sensors 4,800 miles apart… a bloop that sounded organic in origin… a noise that could only have been made by something much much bigger than any living thing ever known.

We don’t know what causes ice ages every 100,000 years, indeed we are actually in an ice age now, an ice age that despite only seeing an average fall in temperatures of about two degrees it was enough to turn the Earth into a snowball. We certainly don’t know what will happen as the temperature will rise by four degrees in this century… though I’d warrant it’s not bally good news.

King Of Herrings

We’ve no idea why we sleep or pick our nose, we don’t know why we have pubic hair and speaking of hair sprouting up in funny places we have absolutely no idea what the point in teenagers is… when all other apes seem to quite sensibly move smoothly into adulthood. We don’t know why humans kiss, it’s certainly not genetic, there are theories that it dates from ancient times when a mother would mush up food for the wee ones in her mouth… but who could ever know. We don’t even know why we love…

Though we at The Proceedings of the Ever so Strange would love to know about love and whopping great fish and weather and aliens… what’s more we look forward to finding out just a smidgeon about them…

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 5:45 pm  Comments (4)  

Ocean Sunfish

The largest bony fish in the world is the incredible ocean sunfish, a bizarre circular fish that can reach more than 4M across, weighing up to 2,300 kg… about the same weight as an Asian bull elephant… which is a lot… but don’t tell him I told you so as that would be terrible manners.

snfish

This enormous bony fish gets its name from its behaviour of thermal recharging, basking his big flat body to catch the warmth of the sun’s rays, after deep dives into the depths of the chilly ocean. Lying flat like a mirror image of the sun. In fact it has a number of apt monickers, in many countries it is known as the moonfish, in Germany it’s “the swimming head”, in Poland the “head alone” and in China it’s the “toppled car” which makes absolutely no bloody sense whatsoever.

Mola_mola

Talking of talking sense, I’m a simple man who likes to keep things elementary; I call my dog “doggy”, Lady Gwendolene “darling” and a Frenchman a “stinking coward”. So I thought it pertinent to bring it to your attention that the very word ‘fish’ is probably misleading. There are 9 different classes of vertebrates; mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are a familiar and really rather nicely defined four, incredibly the other five are all different classes of fish. The Agnatha; weird eel-like fish like the hagfish and lamprey. The Acanthodii and Placodermi, who didn’t do frightfully well and went extinct. Then there are the Chondricythes, with their cartilaginous skeletons, like the sharks and rays. Finally there are the more ‘fishy’ fish, the Osteicythes, the bony fish like the tuna, the cod and our smashing ocean sunfish.

sunfish

Thankfully the ocean sunfish doesn’t care what you call him as he’s bally stupid, the most stupid animal in the sea, after a Giraffe of course. His brain is quite literally the size of a peanut, weighing in at 4g. He doesn’t really need it of course, nature is like that… terribly efficient, he happily bimbles around the ocean, eating jellyfish and well having a bit of lie down, eating another blobby thing… and that’s it really. He eats the easiest of prey; starfish, sponges what not… anything that can’t get away from the slow moving oaf to be perfectly honest… it’s fair to say that the ocean sunfishes prey have about as much chance as a biscuit in a fat man’s bed. So how did he get so big? Well quite simply by eating lots and lots. All the really big animals around the planet have access to tonnes and tonnes of food. The elephant chows down on the grasses and brows of Africa and Asia. The blue whale, who incidentally has a tongue the same length as an elephant, slurps up tonnes and tonnes of krill. The ocean sunfish, the largest bony fish in the world, eats jellyfish and sponges… lots and lots of them.

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm  Comments (20)  

Blobfish

Damnnations! My Winston Churchill bust has melted … oh no it’s just blobfish.

I swear I will throw a wobbly if anyone does another trifle joke

I swear I will throw a wobbly if anyone does another trifle joke

This chap can be found being a trifle curmudgeonly deep in the abyss around the coast of Australia. What is more he is made almost entirely of jelly… yes really. Though that doesn’t seem to have cheered him up, and it should be duly noted that he really doesn’t go down that well with ice cream at parties.

One of the problems with living in water is that it’s very hard to stay where you are. If you are a little bit heavier than water you will sink, and if you are bit lighter you will float up towards the surface. Of course having to fight against this all the time can be a bit of a bugger, so fish have evolved bladders full of air to help them retain a neutral-buoyancy. The problem is that gas-filled organs aren’t really the best idea under the immense pressures in the abyss and so the blobfish has evolved into a… well a blob of jelly. A blob of jelly that is in fact around about the same density as water, which means that he doesn’t have to use up any energy if he doesn’t need to. Which is handy as the blobfish doesn’t get to eat much as he relies on infrequent scraps, from the life-rich upper-ocean, that happen to drift past his nose.

A bally grouchy and lazy blob of jelly he may be, he has however evolved rather neatly to fit his ecological niche. Although this chap isn’t going to woo himself into the upper echelons of Parisian society, at least not after last time, he doesn’t look half as dreadful when he’s in his natural surrounds.

Published in: on July 15, 2009 at 8:32 am  Comments (5)  

Goliath Tigerfish

Don’t worry it’ll only attack you if you’re wet… meet the goliath tigerfish of the River Congo.

... and this is the eating end

... and this is the eating end

He’s a smasher isn’t he! One learned friend of The Proceedings described him as ‘…the fiercest fish that swims. Let others hold forth as advocates for the Mako Shark, the Barracudas or the Blue Fish of the Atlantic. To them I say ‘Pish and Tush’’. Strong words I know, and I can only apologize that such offensive language has been used in front of lady folk, however I felt it prudent to establish just what a vicious brute he is.

A huge bollard of darting fishy muscle, the goliath tigerfish is quite simply an eating machine. Those teeth are set into a hard bony jaw so that when it snaps its unbelievable gob shut they interlock like a set of shears. If you happen to have rolled up your trousers for a paddle in the Congo it would be clever thinking to keep the noise down, as the goliath tigerfish’s sense of hearing is absolutely tip-top, a small bone connects its ear to its swim bladder which acts like an amplifier. The other rather brilliant news about this highly-astute uber-strong swimming set of gnashers is that they shoal… in huge numbers. Attacks on humans have been reported but not verified.

Though there has to be a bit more than ‘bitiness’ to get you into The Proceedings of the Ever So Strange. You see all around the world wildly different creatures look a bit similar. One reason for this is that there are only so many things in the world that make a sufficient supper. What’s more evolution only has what it’s given to work with… much like the Royal families’ portrait artist. The foot of an elephant contain the same bones as the foot of a mouse. The neck of a giraffe has exactly the same amount of vertebrae as that of Winston Churchill. Combine this fact with there are only so many meal tickets in the wild, you get animals that aren’t closely related who look remarkably similar… like the anteaters, the aardvarks and the pangolins for example. Evolution has come up with the same answer to the same question, just in a different place. Convergent evolution as learned types call it. Why all these musings I hear you cry, well put simply the goliath tigerfish is Africa’s version of the River Amazon’s renowned piranha… and indeed it is incredibly similar… just bigger.

Published in: on July 13, 2009 at 1:26 pm  Comments (6)  

Candiru

What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple? That’s right finding a fish in your tallywhacker! Or even finding an apple in your worm?! We’ll get round to that one, right where were we? It was only a matter of time until the Proceedings got around to this chap, just prey that this chap never gets to proceed into your chap. Meet the Candiru, the most feared fish in the River Amazon, yes that’s the same River Amazon that’s stuffed to the rafters with meat-eating Piranhas.

I say... I’m new in the neighbourhood... pool party!... sounds delightful!

I say... I’m new in the neighbourhood... pool party!... sounds delightful!

You see the Candiru has a very anti-social habit. He swims into streams of urine and into the urethra, yes the bit that you wee out of, which is said to smart a tad.

An Eel-shaped Catfish, about fifteen centimetres long and about a centimetre thick the translucent little rapscallion lies in wait at the bottom of the river. If it smells urea, the leftovers from when your body has metabolized protein, in the water it will dart towards the source. Thankfully todgers, and indeed ladies front jacksy’s, aren’t its usual prey. In fact the scoundrel is trying to get in to the gills of some hapless fish. There it will spring its spines and go on to gnaw a hole towards a major blood vessel gorging itself on blood for no more than a few minutes. Then it will drop off sink to the river bottom and have a merry old cogitation and deliberation until its next victim wanders past.

european catfish thankfully have better manners

european catfish thankfully have better manners

If they are very very unlucky that victim may be some poor bloody sod who is urinating into the river. It’s really not the little fishy’s fault, he mistakes the urea in the urine for a fishes gill excretions, and makes a dart into the urine stream… right to its source. Of course this isn’t an ideal situation for the fish to be in, though it is very hard to feel sorry for a ghoulish bugger that gores other fish to death… especially if he’s lodged in your mutton sword. They really do go right in, so that all you can see poking out is there still flapping tail, what’s more the fiend sticks out a spike so it can’t come out, even if you ask it really really nicely.

thanks for getting that blasted human off me

thanks for getting that blasted human off me

Surgery is probably the only option, though local tribes say there is a pair of local herbs that can be inserted into the urethra to kill the fish so it will fall out. Just in case you are ever unlucky enough to come face to genitals with this bounder they are the Jagua plant and the Buitach apple, presumably not the whole apple though.

Published in: on July 10, 2009 at 9:53 am  Comments (3)  

Frilled Shark

WE’VE MOVED HERE! COME SAY HELLO!

Dear gads what the hell is it? Bugger I’ve spilt my G and T. Aaaaah! The frilled shark, so named because living in the deep sea he’s always just positively ecstatic to be invited to a soiree at the surface.

... it really is awfully nice of you to invite me

... it really is awfully nice of you to invite me

Oh alright then it’s because he’s got big frilly gills. The fossil record shows that the frilled shark has been around for eighty million years, that’s a long time ago… about the same time that the relatives of birds gave up on the whole teeth idea… and evolved beaks. See I told you it was a long time ago. Now where were we… ah yes, you see the frilled shark was in fact thought to be extinct up until the 19th Century when a corpse washed up onto the shores of Japan.

Of course it’s often said that many have been spotted since the Middle Ages, it’s just that back then they quite reasonably surmised that they were sea serpents. Speaking of serpents it’s also hypothesized that the frilled shark strikes at its prey… much like a snake snatching at a mouse.

That’s about it for this lovely shark, one last thing, it gives birth to live young, sounds odd i know but many shark do, and quite remarkably it has the longest pregnancy in the entire animal kingdom, twice as long as an slephant in fact. For three and a half years she will waddle through the benthos bearing her young, self-righteously eyeing other sharks who have happily found a seat, thankfully for the expectant mum she wont have to breast feed.

Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 12:20 pm  Comments (1)  

Clownfish

Clown fish have had it good of late… world-famed actors and bon vivants they’re the fishy toast of tinseltown. What those Hollywood types didn’t tell you is that this chap wants to be a chick. Of course we at the Proceedings of the Ever so Strange are liberal minded souls and we salute transvestisism… for one thing we think it takes balls.

Mum what's a transvestite?  .... That's your Father ... Ask your Mother ... He should know

Mum what's a transvestite? .... That's your Father ... Ask your Mother ... He should know

Now lets get the goggles on these superb little fellows. You see the Clownfish, also called the Anemone fish, lives in symbiosis with a clown … sorry… Anemone. Anemones are big stingy buggers, but for some hotly debated reason the fish are impervious to their nastiness. Which makes an Anemone a rather good hiding place. Of course the Anemone doesn’t act like a watery pub for no reason… he gets cleaned by the fish, all that swimming back and forth really helps with water circulation, and as if that wasn’t enough… it also gets to eat all the fish poo.

Naturally living in wibbly stingy things isn’t the really remarkable thing about Clownfish. You see what every schoolboy Clownfish wants to be when he grows up isn’t a Spaceman or a Train driver. What they really want to be… is a she. You see all Clownfish are born as chaps. They live together as a group of a male and female breeding pair and a number of undeveloped males. When the female dies the dominant male takes the unprecedented step of turning into a dame. He, obviously now a she, will take on all female duties… laying eggs… being bally lovely… tittle tattle. This of course isn’t ideal for their acting careers… though there is talk of an opening in the comic book adaptation of X Men.

Published in: on June 21, 2009 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cookie Cutter Shark

WE’VE MOVED HERE! COME SAY HELLO!

Sharks are pretty pleased with themselves, so they should be, they’re basically a rippling slab of muscle in gunmetal grey, row upon row of huge teeth… all in all awesome eating machines. When they’re not eating seals like hors d’oeuvres and hippies on boards like a small blini… they just like to cruise around the oceans looking like a whole barrel of tough.

 a satisfactory brunch

a satisfactory brunch

Some sharks of course don’t look so tough, but they’re certainly not to be trifled with; the bizarre hammerhead, goblin and frilled sharks…

…and then there is the cookie cutter shark, a snivelling little sneak who looks more like a fat ladies arm holding a kitchen utensil.

the new desk tidies were a surprising hit

the new desk tidies were a surprising hit

This chubby little rake likes to take a chomp out of bigger fish by pretending to be a tasty snack, what’s more the way it does it is rather intriguing.

You see a lot of fish have cells all along their belly that give off light. It’s a rather clever way of not getting eaten, if a big predator looks up from deeper water then the cells that give off light means that they’re not silhouetted against the sun, and so are very nearly invisible.

The cookie cutter shark has taken this devilishly clever trick a step further. They have a patch of black near their throat that doesn’t have any bioluminescent cells. So predators see a tiny black speck above their heads darting around like a small fish. Not surprisingly the predator bolts at the easy target, and this is when the cookie cutter pounces. Using the speed of the predator it latches on to its feckless attacker using its big rubbery lips. Its huge teeth, the biggest in any shark species relative to its size, slice into the hapless predators flesh… taking a perfectly-circular biscuit shaped bite.

la! ... la! ... la! ... la! la! la!

la! ... la! ... la! ... la! la! la!

Incidentally although many fish, like the angler fish, use bioluminescence to lure prey and indeed to avoid it. The cookie cutter shark is the only example of lack of bioluminescence being used to get a meal ticket.

Of course like most sharks, metaphorically-speaking, the cookie cutters are almost entirely bone from the neck upwards and so often take lumps out of the wrong thing. Submarines, microphones and electric cables have all been subject to the cookie cutter’s fearsome chomp.

Thankfully only once has a human been on the receiving end of cookie cutter’s gnashers. Big tough sharks, on the other hand, the gunmetal grey slabs of muscle, the ones that eat dolphins as an amuse-bouche, are often found with more than one big circular lump out of their backside.

Published in: on June 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm  Comments (3)