Beel den Stormer Presents the Only Fishery Blog You Need

Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics

Smithsonian Exhibition “X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out”

Beel ran across a reference to an exhibit developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.  This exhibit opened early last year and will travel through 2015.  It currently is taking a break for the holidays, but will next appear on 11 January 2013 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The exhibit presents 40 X-ray images made by Sandra Raredon of the Division of Fishes, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.  There are many remarkable images in this collection.  Please, friends, let Beel present three of these.

Winghead Shark

Winghead shark (click on image for a better view)

The winghead shark Eusphyra blochii is a rather small hammerhead shark.  It has narrow, elongate wing-like head extensions that make the head nearly half as wide as the body is long. The winghead shark ranges in total length from about 100 to 150 cm (3.2 to 4.9 ft). In the image above, please note the cartilaginous structures that support the wings of the head.  Way cool!

Torrent loach

Torrent loach

Torrent loaches, genus Gastromyzon , are found exclusively on the island of Borneo.  Torrent loaches, are bottom-dwellers and have numerous morphological adaptations for life in swift-moving waters. They have a wide head and a streamlined-tapering body. The pectoral and pelvic fins are modified to act as suction disks (you can make this out in the image above) that the fish use to cling to rocks.

Wedgetail triggerfish

Wedgetail triggerfish

The wedgetail triggerfish Rhinecanthus rectangulus is a reef fish found in the tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific. They are found at depths to around 20 m around shallow coral or rocky reefs exposed to the surge. Wedgetail trigger fish feed on corals and encrusting organisms, which they break off using their teeth. Look at the snappers on this baby, says Beel.

The x-ray image of the wedgetail triggerfish above is really neat, because it shows so clearlythe first two dorsal-fin spines, from which triggerfish get their name.  The first spine is very stout and is connected in function with the second spine.  When a triggerfish is threatened, it will dive into a tight crevice, wedging itself  in and anchoring into place by erecting and locking the first spine. When the second spine is depressed its acts as a trigger, unlocking the first spine (source).

The wedgetail triggerfish is the official state fish of Hawaii, where it operates under the alias humuhumunukunukuapua’a, which means “trigger fish with a blunt snout like a pig’s.”  Beel says, humina humina.

For those who cannot travel to see the exhibition, there is an online version that is really worth looking at.  In addition to the photographs, this online exhibit has systematic, ecological, and distributional information for each species, as well as color photographs of living specimens.

Beel says this is way cool and gives it three stars, Beel’s highest recommendation.



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This entry was posted on January 4, 2013 by in Beel Recommended, Collections, Conservation and tagged , .
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