Fish dance on sulphur cauldrons

By | December 18, 2006

Fish dance on sulphur cauldrons

Scientists have witnessed the extreme lifestyle of tonguefish that like to skip across pools of molten sulphur. The animals – a type of flatfish – were filmed on three expeditions to undersea volcanoes in the western Pacific. Huge numbers were seen to congregate around the sulphur ponds which well up from beneath the seafloor. … The measured temperature is more than 180C (355F).

“These flatfish live right up against the edge of the pools, and in a couple of cases we saw them out on the surface of a pool,” said Dr Dower. “We have video of a fish sitting on the molten sulphur and then moving off after a couple of minutes, apparently unharmed. They seem to be able to tolerate an environment that no other flatfish, and very few fish in general, are found in.”

The deep-sea submersibles captured some of the fish and they are now being analysed. … Dr Alex Rogers is a senior research fellow at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and recently co-authored a report on the state of seamounts for the United Nations.

“This is stunning,” he told BBC News. “The temperatures which these fish are experiencing means they must have remarkable stress defence mechanisms to be able to survive in that environment. “So physiologically it’s remarkable; but as a visual spectacle, it’s like something from another planet.” – bbc

Hmmm… a fish you can’t cook.

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