Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Aquatic Episode....

Two weeks ago I asked people what animal they would like me to write about and while the response varied, there was a significant majority of fish lovers!  Something that defines every type of fish is their shape.  Each fish has adapted it's body over time to cater it specifically for it's environment.  Some would assume, that since all fish live in the water they all simply modify their body for streamlined swimming, not the case.  The ocean is just as varied as the surface in its different biomes.  Coral reefs are full of tight places, open ocean is miles and miles of vast open water, kelp beds are the forests of the sea.  These different environments have given variation to fish body shape.

Our first fish will be the box fish.  This brightly colored but admittedly awkwardly shaped fish lives in coral reefs.  Coral reefs are the one of the densest environments in the ocean.  This fish's body is ideal for tight swift turns to maneuver at optimal efficiency, and emits very little drag.  Mercedes Benz even modeled a car after the box fish shape, this concept car was exceptionally streamlined with a 65% lower drag coefficient than its' compact car competitors.

Next ocean fish with an extreme body shape is the tuna.  All tuna have an especially streamlined body shape, with a pointed head and a tapered tail. The large caudal fin is lunate (crescent shaped). Following each fin is a series of finlets, the number varying with the species. In all species, the scales are extremely small or lacking.  Everything about the tuna has been designed to cut down drag.  The torpedo shape cuts through the water, scales create drag so minimizing them or getting rid of them is ideal, and having a number of small finlets gives the tuna optimal control without needing large bulky fins.  The tuna has many more adaptations and may end op getting its own separate blog soon.

Next fish with the opposite body shape is the puffer fish.  Now this is a fish built for flexibility not for speed.  They tend to stay on the ocean floor because they are not fast swimmers.  Everyone knows their defense of puffing up many times their original body size by filling their stomach with water, but their deflated state is also very special.  They are very manoeuvrable and able to hover, swim backwards, and change direction much more quickly than most other types of fish.

The last requested aquatic creature is the Trigger fish, they live in tropic and subtropic oceans.  Trigger fish have an oval shaped, highly compressed body. The head is large, terminating in a small but strong- jawed mouth with teeth adapted for crushing shells. Their eyes are small and very high up on their head (to protect from spines).  They only have a single gill opening above the pectoral fins.  This fish actually has teeth due to its' very crunchy diet of slow-moving, bottom dwelling crustaceans and echinoderms, generally creatures with protective shells and spines.  Each jaw contains a row of four teeth on either side, while the upper jaw contains an additional set of six plate-like pharyngeal teeth.  Basically the trigger fish doesn't need speed because its' prey is extremely slow, instead its' body is built for protection and power.

That's it for now, if you have any other animals you want me to write about let me know,

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