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Why Did a Venomous Fish Evolve a Glowing Eye Spike?

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Why Did a Venomous Fish Evolve a Glowing Eye Spike?

Post by Dragon on Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:40 pm

In 2003, Leo Smith was dissecting a velvetfish. Smith, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Kansas, was trying to figure out the relationships between mail-cheeked fishes, an order that includes velvetfishes, as well as waspfishes, stonefishes and the infamous lionfish. As he worked his way to the velvetfish’s upper jaw, though, he realized something strange—he was having trouble removing the lachrymal bone.

“On a normal fish, there’s a little bit of connective tissue and you can work a scalpel blade between the upper jaw and this bone,” recalls Smith, whose work centers on the evolution of fish venom and bioluminescence. “I was having just a horrible time trying to separate it. When I finally got it separated, I noticed there was this thing that’s all lumpy and bumpy … it was then that it hit me that it had to be some sort of locking mechanism.”

To be fair, most velvet fish already resemble thorny, blobby mutants, so an extra skewer isn’t really that unusual. But given that Smith has spent years studying mail-cheeked fishes (Scorpaeniformes)—an order that gets its common name from the bone plates found on each cheek—you’d think he would have noticed a massive, locking eye spike before. He hadn’t. He and his colleagues would dub this strange new discovery the “lachrymal saber.”

(FYI: Lachrymal comes from the Latin word for “tear.” While fish can’t cry, it’s still the technical name for the bone forming the eye socket.)

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Re: Why Did a Venomous Fish Evolve a Glowing Eye Spike?

Post by Dragon on Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:41 pm


Credit: (Leo Smith)

An x-ray of a Whiskered Prowfish (Neopataecus waterhousii), which has a “lachrymal saber.” One species of waspfish features a saber that glows.
Source / Image Courtesy

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Re: Why Did a Venomous Fish Evolve a Glowing Eye Spike?

Post by Dragon on Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:43 pm



Stonefish are aptly named - they look exactly like stone, allowing them to blend into their surroundings and surprise unwitting prey.

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Re: Why Did a Venomous Fish Evolve a Glowing Eye Spike?

Post by Dragon on Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:47 pm



Angler fish and other monsters from the dark depths of the ocean attract unsuspecting fish with their weird and wonderful brightly lit lures.

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Re: Why Did a Venomous Fish Evolve a Glowing Eye Spike?

Post by Cloud on Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:24 am

Dragon wrote:
Credit: (Leo Smith)

An x-ray of a Whiskered Prowfish (Neopataecus waterhousii), which has a “lachrymal saber.” One species of waspfish features a saber that glows.
Source / Image Courtesy

I think these are great happyface

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