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By admin - Posted Oct 26, 2009 09:10 PM

As it turns out, sea turtles glow in the dark!

While night-diving with blacklight video equipment to record the biofluorescence of corals and reef fish, David Gruber encountered something very special: the first documentation of biofluorescence of a reptile: a critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle.

Go Team! Fishes demonstrate complex teamwork

We have no idea why rabbitfish are all of a sudden the darlings of the research world, but another recently published study confirms that these reef fish demonstrate remarkable cooperation with their buddies.

Photographic evidence of two rabbitfishes working together as a team already exists, but this fascinating behavior is only now being extensively researched and appreciated.  A new open-access study published in Nature shows in great detail the marvelous working partnership between pairs of rabbitfish.  And as another recent study shows, it's not always about sex

From the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies:

I’ve got your back – Fishes really do look after their mates!


When it comes to helping each other out, it turns out that some fish are better at it than previously thought.

New research from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University has found that pairs of rabbitfishes will cooperate and support each other while feeding.

While such behaviour has been documented for highly social birds and mammals, it has previously been believed to be impossible for fishes.

“We found that rabbitfish pairs coordinate their vigilance activity quite strictly, thereby providing safety for their foraging partner,” says Dr Simon Brandl from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

“In other words, one partner stays ‘on guard’ while the other feeds – these fishes literally watch each others’ back,” Dr Brandl says.


The foraging individual (in the head-down position) feeds in cracks and crevices in the substratum, while the vigilant individual is positioned in the water column with its head up. Note the obstructions to the visual field of the forager, suggesting high vulnerability to predation and the unobstructed field of perception of the vigilant fish. (a) Siganus corallinus, (b) S. vulpinus, (c) S. doliatus, (d) S. puellus. Photographs taken and owned by Jordan M. Casey, who gives permission for their publication under an Open Access license.

“This behaviour is so far unique among fishes and appears to be based on reciprocal cooperation between pair members.”

Reciprocal cooperation, which requires an investment in a partner, which is later reciprocated, is assumed to require complex cognitive and social skills. Skills that fishes have been deemed not to have.

Yet, Dr Brandl says their research shows clear coordination and presents intriguing evidence for reciprocal cooperation between the rabbitfish pairs.

“There has been a long standing debate about whether reciprocal cooperation can exit in animals that lack the highly developed cognitive and social skills found in humans and a few species of birds and primates.” Dr Brandl says.

“By showing that fishes, which are commonly considered to be cold, unsocial, and unintelligent, are capable of negotiating reciprocal cooperative systems, we provide evidence that cooperation may not be as exclusive as previously assumed.”

Co-author, Prof. Bellwood, also from the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, says that our perception of fishes as cold scaly automans is slowly changing.

“Our findings should further ignite efforts to understand fishes as highly developed organisms with complex social behaviours,” he says.

“This may also require a shift in how we study and ethically treat fishes.”

Sweet fish art

Sweet fish art

All photos by Shinri Tezuka

Japanese artisan Shinri Tezuka uses sugar - and a whole lot of talent - to create these extraordinary edible works of fish art.

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The ultimate basement aquarium

Imagine living in a luxury high-rise apartment building whose bottom floor is a massive underground public aquarium. If real estate developer The Sunland Group gets its way, that's exactly what some lucky Aussies will have.

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Household vinegar deadly to Crown of Thorns Starfish

Household vinegar deadly to Crown of Thorns Starfish

Credit: © IRD / E. Folcher

Good ol' CH3COOH is shown to be 100% lethal to COTS if injected in the right spot. This finding can help battle overpopulation of this voracious coral-eater.

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Aquaforest products now available in the USA through Deepwater Aquatics

Aquaforest is a respected European company whose core products include fertilizers for planted aquariums, aquascaping products, filtration media, and chemicals (including salts) for marine aquariums. Their products are now coming to America.

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Rabbitfish that pair off don't necessarily do it for sex

Rabbitfish that pair off don't necessarily do it for sex

Rabbitfish on the Great Barrier Reef. Credit: J.Donelson

Whenever divers/scientists observe two fish of the same species swimming together for hours/days/months/years on end, we tend to assume they are mated pairs. But a new research shows pairing isn't always a sexual partnership.

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Jerlo Reef Tank

There hasn't been many new scientific papers published nor industry and product hobby news lately. Luckily, there are still hobbyists with beautiful aquariums and video gear. Relax to this unique reef aquascape from France.

Tank size : 100x70x60cm (40x28x24") = 378 liters (100 gallons)
Lighting : Evergrow IT2080 LED
Skimmer : ATI 200IS + Jebao DC3000
Age: 11 month (Zeovit began one month ago)

Spectacular reef in even more spectacular slow-mo

This is the first time we've seen this type of video used for a reef aquarium. We're not exactly sure how this effect is produced. All we know for sure is the slow-mo is mesmerizingly beautiful.

Theft of £25,000 worth of koi is a reminder ...

Theft of £25,000 worth of koi is a reminder ...

Photo by Stan Shebs

1) that people suck and 2) to install surveillance cameras if you have an outdoor pond. A Farmborough (UK) man lost twenty big 2-3 foot Japanese koi to a thief this week.

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"Wash Off" is a new plant-based coral dip

ME Coral has introduced a new coral dip formulated with concentrated pine, lemon, and lavender plant extracts. Their press release (after the jump) contains some ambitious claims with no supporting data. Yet, we know plant-based oils have been safely used as coral dips so this new solution (first one that uses lavender oil that we know of) may be worth trying.

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ORA's newest captive bred fish: The Transparent Cave Goby

ORA's newest captive bred fish: The Transparent Cave Goby

ORA's new family member: The Transparent Cave Goby (Fusigobius pallidus)

The Transparent Cave Goby (Fusigobius pallidus) isn't the most colorful species out there, but as ORA says, "Sometimes the best camouflage requires no color at all." We also share an image of their breeding facilities after the jump. It's awesome!

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World's first automated aquarium fish health monitor

World's first automated aquarium fish health monitor

Dr Lynne Sneddon observing clownfish

Over the weekend, England's Blue Planet Aquarium tested a new "smart" technology that monitors fishes' health based on their movement.

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Cherax snowden, a new tropical crayfish

Yes, that Snowden. The newest described species of crayfish from Indonesia was named after Edward Snowden, the man who leaked information from the U.S. National Security Agency. Whatever your political stance, let's agree C.snowden is one handsome crawdad. It's actually been collected for the aquarium trade for years but wasn't recognized as a distinct species until now.


Different color variations of this grand crayfish

With its orange to greenishly orange motley tip, the new crayfish species has been long-confused with its relatives by the tradesmen who have been collecting them for ornamental purposes. Being exported to countries in Europe, East Asia and America C. snowden specimens inevitably landed in the hands of the scientists from Lukhaup’s team who eventually recognised and proved them as a new crayfish species. Their research is available in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

Although the new crayfish species has probably been sold along with its motley relatives under another name for decades, the scientists figured that it is in fact easily distinguishable by its shape of body and colouration. In order to prove it as a separate species, the team used sequence divergence as well.

Having travelled across the world from its so far only known locality, West Papua, New Guinea, the new freshwater crustacean was given the name of the controversial former CIA employee and government contractor Edward Snowden. Its ‘godfather’ is famous for leaking secretive information from the U.S. National Security Agency, which later led him to a continuous search for political asylum. The authors speak of him as an “American freedom fighter” with “achievements in defence of justice, and freedom.”

In their conclusion the authors note that there could be potential threats to the new species. The freshwater crayfish is being collected in large numbers for both the ornamental fish global market and for food for the locals. Asked about the crustacean’s populations, the collectors spoke about a decline in the last few years.

“Clearly, the continued collection of these crayfish for the trade is not a sustainable practice, and if the popularity of the species continues, a conservation management plan will have to be developed, potentially including a captive breeding program,” the researchers comment.

Journal Reference: Lukhaup C, Panteleit J, Schrimpf A (2015) Cherax snowden, a new species of crayfish (Crustacea, Decapoda, Parastacidae) from the Kepala Burung (Vogelkop) Peninsula in Irian Jaya (West Papua), Indonesia. ZooKeys 518: 1-14. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.518.6127

[via Pensoft]

Meet the Blue Bastard Sweetlips

Meet the Blue Bastard Sweetlips

Adult Blue Bastard

Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus is the newest described species of sweetlips from Australia. This fish was previously only known via 'big fish tales' told by fishermen, who named the near mythical creature the Blue Bastard because it is so frustrating to catch.

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