Friday, May 28, 2010

Wonder Fish



Alien of the Deep:

Looking like a creature from the Alien movies, this nightmarish "longhead dreamer" anglerfish (Chaenophryne longiceps) was until recently an alien species to Greenland waters.



The dreamer, which grows to a not-so-monstrous 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) in length, is 1 of 38 fish species found around the Arctic island for the first time, according to a recent study led by biologist Peter Møller of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.
Ten of the species new to Greenland are new to science too. All 38 were discovered since the last such survey in 1992.
Rising ocean temperatures due to global warming—which could be drawing unfamiliar fishes to the region—and increased deep-sea fishing may be responsible for the spike in fresh fish faces seen off Greenland, according to the study, published in the journal.




New Shark Swimming off Greenland:





The Iceland catshark species, including this fish caught during the study period, is among several sharks recently found in Greenland waters for the first time.
The small shark has been found in other oceans at depths of between 2,645 to 4,625 feet (800 and 1,410 meters), where it feeds on fish, marine worms, and crustaceans such as lobster and crabs.
The recent discoveries of deep-dwelling species, such as the catshark, are probably due largely to an increase in deep-sea fishing around Greenland—and a resulting boom in odd, accidental catches—the survey team says.
Five of the 38 new-to-Greenland fish species are relatively shallow dwellers, though, and were likely lured into their new habitats by warming seas, the team says.

Unexpected Shark Species:





This Portuguese dogfish is one of four such specimens found off Greenland since 2007. Listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the deep-sea species native had previously been unknown in Greenland waters, the new report says.
Highlighted in the study as one of the most unexpected finds, the Portuguese dogfish usually dwells in more southerly waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.
Commercial fishers catch the Portuguese dogfish both by accident and on purpose—generally for its liver oil, which is used in cosmetics.


Icy Stare:





The Mediterranean grenadier, or rattail (pictured with a gape-mouthed expression) was first spotted around Greenland in 1998, the new report says. Most of the new-to-Greenland deepwater species reported in the survey, such as this grenadier, are of little commercial value.
But an already evident influx of shallow-living, relatively warm-water fish have boosted the fortunes of the local fishing industry, study leader Peter Møller said.
For Greenland, at least, ocean warming "isn't necessarily bad—that's for sure," he said.




Eat Me:





It may be unappetizing to look at, but this newly arrived species of anglerfish, Lophius piscatorius—that's "monkfish" to seafood fans—could prove a tasty addition to Greenland's fishery, according to study leader Peter Møller.
Though monkfish remain rare in Greenland, they appear to be taking advantage to the island's warmer sea temperatures—as are fellow relatively shallow-water species, including Mueller's pearlsides, whiting, blackbelly rosefish, and snake pipefish.
"Monkfish is so expensive and popular" that it stands out as a potential commercial species from all the other new fish recorded in the survey, Møller said.


"Swallower" From the Abyss:





Chiasmodon harteli belongs to a group of fishes known as swallowers because of their ability to swallow prey larger than themselves (its stomach apparently hyper extended). It's also among the 38 species never before seen off Greenland.
Hundreds of yards above Chiasmodon harteli's deep habitat, Greenland has been extensively fished for more than a century. 
At these shallower depths, it's reasonable to assume that "any unknown species of fish occurring in today's catches are in fact new in the area," the study team writes.


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