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How to Cold-Read a Fish I’ve included some notes on points not covered in the text. I purposefully haven’t ID’ed the fishes on the slides since part of.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Cold-Read a Fish I’ve included some notes on points not covered in the text. I purposefully haven’t ID’ed the fishes on the slides since part of."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Cold-Read a Fish I’ve included some notes on points not covered in the text. I purposefully haven’t ID’ed the fishes on the slides since part of the point of learning to cold-read is to get us past the mistaken assumption that you know anything about an animal just because you can identify it. What’s in a name anyway? A fish by any other name would smell as ripe.

2 What is a fish, anyway? Vertebrates Fishes have: Fish vs. Fishes
Backbone CNS with brain Bilateral symmetry Sexual reproduction Fishes have: Jaws Gills Paired fins Scales (usually) Cold-blood (almost always) Fish vs. Fishes Use fishes when talking about fish of different species, use fish when talking about a single species. Twenty-seven spiny lumpsuckers are “fish” but if a spiny lumpsucker, a monkeyface prickleback and a sarcastic fringehead swim into a bar, they are “fishes.”

3 How to memorize 25,000 fish… Don’t memorize…read them Take clues from:
Body shape Fins Mouth Senses Color/patterns Habitat

4 Fins on the football Fusiform Paired fins Unpaired fins Modified fins
Pectoral fins Pelvic fins Unpaired fins Dorsal Anal Caudal Modified fins

5 Fish sense Eyes Nostrils/nares Other Size Position Shape Barbels
Lateral line Large eyes means vision is important to the fish. Eyes place high on the fish are common on bottom-dwelling fish (all the action is happening above). Many fish have a stripe running through the eye to hide it (eyes are a common target for predators). Nostrils have an in and an out. They are used only for smell (except in stargazers and ratfish). Barbels are like having an external tongue. Typically indicate a bottom-oriented fish that lives in a murky environment.

6 Fish mouths Mouth position Size and shape Inside
Point up – surface food and oxygen Point down – prey on or near the bottom Point forward – AKA terminal, chase food Size and shape Inside Teeth – all over Rakers – filtering

7 Staying out of trouble Armor Spines Skin color Schooling
Countershading Disruptive coloration Cryptic coloration Silver and red Imitation Schooling Some fish have heavy, armor-like (ganoid) scales Spines are unpleasant to bite down on but also make a fish effectively bigger without added much mass (a fish needs a bigger mouth to fit the fish and the spines). Spines may sometimes be venomous. Countershading is dark on the top and light on the bottom. In the ocean up is light and down is dark. Disruptive coloration is spots and stripes. They break up the body shape and make the fish harder to spot—especially at a distance. Cryptic coloration helps a fish blend into its environment (like the stonefish above). Silver fish live near the surface. Silver scales reflect light and recreate flickering light seen near the surface—fish hide in the light. Red fish are found at depth. Red wavelengths are absorbed or scattered by about 30 feet. With no red light, the fish appears almost black. Imitation includes a lot of things. Some fish (like the angler above) imitate algae or other pieces of the habitat. Others use eyespots near the tail to distract predators. Schooling helps small fish avoid predators by providing more eyes, ears and lateral lines to detect predators and by making a numbers game. Make no mistake, schooling is not “cooperative.” It is selfish. Fish participate because it benefits them. When threatened by a predator, the fish all head for the center.

8 Eco-shapes Rover predators Lie-in-wait predators Surface-oriented
Fusiform, terminal mouth, forked tail, evenly placed fins Lie-in-wait predators Fins far back Surface-oriented Upturned mouth, large eyes, dorsal back Forked tail indicates fish is capable of long, sustained bursts of speed. Rover predators also have evenly-spaced fins. Fins far back, with similarly sized anal and second dorsal fins, indicates potential for quick acceleration. Many lie-in-wait predators are also “skinny fusiform.” Dorsal fin is located far back on surface-dwelling fish so it doesn’t stick out at the surface and attract predators.

9 Eco-shapes Bottom fish – flat, camouflaged Deep-bodied Eel-like - eely
Rovers – goatfish Clingers – sculpins, clingfishes Flatfishes Rattails Deep-bodied Smooshed, pecs, small mouth, large eyes, spines Eel-like - eely Clingfishes have pelvic fins modified into sucker discs. Other clingers have large heads and large pectoral fins that, when held down to the bottom, allow the current to push the fish to the bottom instead of tossing it. Deep-bodied fish are all about maneuverability. They are often found in complex habitats (grass beds, coral reefs, etc.). Pec fins are active and placed high on the side of the fish. Small mouth for picking small prey off of rocks or grass blades. Eel-shaped fish are eel shaped because they hunt or hide in crevices.

10 Habitat is context Individual adaptations may only make sense in the context of a fish’s habitat Specific challenges Adaptations develop in response to specific challenges posed by the habitat. The bay pipefish may have an eely shape but they have nothing to do with crevices—they use their narrow profile to blend into eel grass beds.

11 How to cold-read a fish Body shape Fins Senses Mouth Skin color
Fusiform Flattened Eel-like Deep-bodied Fins Tail shape Pectoral fins Dorsal/anal fins Modified fins Spines? Senses Eyes Nostrils/nares Barbels Mouth Position Size and shape Skin color Silvery/counter-shaded Cryptic/disruptive Eyespots, etc. Don’t forget to also consider habitat and behavior.

12 Tell me about this fish Note: skinny fusiform shape; dorsal and anal fish equal in shape, large and placed far back on the body = built for acceleration Note: large, terminal mouth = predator Note: large eye = vision is important Note: stripes/disruptive coloration = stripes help break up form and make less visible to prey, may blend into vertical aquatic plants

13 What about me? Note: Forked tail, evenly spaced fins, wing-like pectoral, fusiform shape, terminal/downward pointed mouth mouth = rover predator Note: Silvery color, large eye = live near surface, probably in clear water Note: Deep-bodied body shape may suggest some maneuverability is important for this fish

14 Me? Note: Cryptic coloration, eyes high on the head, mouth low on the “face” = bottom fish Note: Non-fusiform, weak tail, large pectorals, pelvic fins moved forward for support of head = more hops and darts than swimming

15 What about me? Note: Deep-bodied, pectoral fins high on the body and transparent = very maneuverable Note: Stripe through the eye, eyespot near the tail, spines in dorsal = prey animal Note: Small mouth = picks small inverts from the reef

16 And us? Note: Silver color, large eyes, dorsal fin far back on the body, upturned mouth = surface-oriented fish Note: Spots = disruptive coloration Note: Weak fins, round tail = quick darts but no sustained speeds Note: modified fin on bottom fish = modified for internal fertilization

17 Curveballs Clockwise from upper right: deep sea anglerfish, ocean sunfish, leafy seadragon, hatchetfish

18 Phantasmagoric Fish Stories
It’s all about resource partitioning Extreme specialization leads to… Freaks! If a fish can carve out a tiny but utterly unique little niche, they have a good chance of surviving and thriving—especially in a crowded, species-rich environment like a coral reef, rain forest, etc. (Sarcastic fringehead)

19 Freaky feeders Archer fish Arawana Dusky damsel Angler fishes
Gulper eels Electric fishes Cichlids Vege piranhas Top row, left to right: arawana. Second row: dusky damsel, archerfish. Third row: gulper eel, cichlid, footballfish (a deep sea angler). Bottom row: electric eel, piranha. Archerfish have a groove in the roof of their mouth. They shoot insects off of branches with jets of water. Arawanas jump right out of the water and snatch small birds, lizards and even monkeys off the branches. They are also known as water monkeys. Dusky damsels “farm” a patch of algae. They eat a little off the top then let it grow. They also defend it with remarkable vigor. Angler fishes have fins modified as lures that they use to attract prey. Deep sea anglers have bioluminescent lures. Gulper eels have stretchy stomachs and can eat animals several times their size. Many species of fishes use electricity to stun food, defend themselves or detect predators and prey. There are several lakes in Africa where there are so many species of cichlids that they have become hyper-specialized. One species (pictured above) lie on the bottom of the lake and pretend to be dead. They even have colors that make them look like they are rotting. They go so far as to let other fish pick at them a little—until they get close enough to the head and, of course, the mouth. Some piranhas eat nothing but fruit and seeds.

20 Bizarre sex stories The mile-high club Lonely and loving it
Splash tetra Lonely and loving it Functional hermaphrodites Lancets, tripods Transvestites and transsexuals Sneaker males Changing with age, population composition Omega males Deep sea anglers Amazon Molly Top row: splash tetra. Second row: Lancet. Third row: stoplight parrotfish, moon wrasse. Third row: molly, deep sea angler Tetra females leap out of the water and spray eggs on overhanging rock ledges. The males jump out and fertilize them then hang around and splash water on them until they hatch. Keeping the eggs out of the water keeps them safe from predators. Some fish, like the lancet, are functional hermaphrodites. Lancets live in deep water and very seldom see another lancet. Luckily, when they do meet, they are guaranteed to have compatible parts. Sneaker males adopt the colors of female fishes. When the alpha male is busy with another member of his harem, the sneaker males dart in and mate. In some populations, the largest fish is the male. When he dies, the next largest becomes male. Other fish become female as they reach a certain age or size. Deep sea angler males and females are very different in size. The males are much smaller and spend most of their lives searching out females. When they find one, they attach themselves and never leave. Eventually, their lips grow into the female’s skin and she nourishes him through her blood supply. His only job is to provide gametes. Amazon mollies are all female. They only need a male from a similar species to “jump start” the process.

21 We could go on World’s smallest vertebrate Ice-fishes Rivulines
Anti-freeze in blood Rivulines Eggs to adults in 4 weeks, dead in a year Elephant fishes Huge brains (3%) Tarpon can drown Walking catfish Swimmer’s surprise Swamp eels Can live out of water for up to 6 months Telescope/tripod Flying fish 30 sec, 1m high, 200m Four-eyed fish Pearlfish Top row, left to right: Trimmatom nanus, rivuline, walking catfish. Second row: ice-fish, elephant fish, swamp eel. Third row: telescope fish. Fourth row: flying fish. Bottom row: tarpon, four-eyed fish, pearl fish Ice fishes live in sub-freezing waters. Tarpon are obligate air-breathers—they can’t get enough oxygen through their gills. When their pools dry up, walking catfish walk to another. A tiny catfish in certain parts of the world have been known to lodge their spiny bodies in human urethras. Four-eyed fish sit at the surface and can see above and below at the same time. The anus of the pearlfish is located under its chin so that it doesn’t have to leave its host cucumber to relieve itself.

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