Weekly Fish – An Ode to the Goldfish

Weekly Fish – An Ode to the Goldfish

It is hard to think of a fish that is more mundanely everyday than the goldfish, but this was not always so. When the little golden carp was introduced in Europe in the 18th century, it enjoyed several decades of exalted status among the well-to-do. Known initially as the “kin-yu”, it was imported from China by the British and slowly but steadily made its way through Europe. Early reports from colonists had described it as a very fragile fish (shaking a bowl of goldfish would kill half of them, they said) that was extremely hard to breed. Once introduced to Europe, it was soon found that the goldfish wasn’t all that fragile, and actually really easy to breed, so it soon took over the continent and lost most of its exotic allure. Continue reading “Weekly Fish – An Ode to the Goldfish”

Weekly Fish – Why Remoras Suck

Weekly Fish – Why Remoras Suck

Fins can be modified in striking ways, as illustrated by the (rather cute) Remora, or suckerfish. Its modified, flattened dorsal fin functions as a sucking disc, creating a vacuum that allows the fish to attach itself to its host, usually on the belly or under the gill covering. Remoras are often specialized in particular host types. Thus, whale suckers cling to whales, marlin suckers have a strong preference for marlins, and shark suckers (you guessed it) are usually found on sharks. Often multiple Remoras attach to the same host animal, who can even be a meeting place for mates. Indeed, hosts have been found with a male Remora under one gill covering, a female under the other. Continue reading “Weekly Fish – Why Remoras Suck”

Weekly Fish – Nemo for Adults (or, why it might be a good thing that not all movies are realistic)

Weekly Fish – Nemo for Adults (or, why it might be a good thing that not all movies are realistic)

Whenever I’m asked what my favourite fish movie is (and I get that question surprisingly often), I unhesitatingly answer Finding Nemo. Such a lovely story of redemption and family love, all set in a beautifully animated water world. Clearly I’m not the only one, for since the movie appeared in 2003 the clownfish has become one of the most famous species of fish in the world. Whereas the movie is spot on in its visual representation of most of the animals, its depiction of the fishes’ behaviour may not be entirely accurate. While the film correctly states that clownfish are no funnier than other fishes, it gets most of its family values quite wrong. Continue reading “Weekly Fish – Nemo for Adults (or, why it might be a good thing that not all movies are realistic)”