Friday, March 26, 2010

From the deep

Far at the back of the Ucluelet Aquarium is a habitat that mirrors a place deep on the ocean floor. The first inhabitant you may notice has a fiery red coloration and eyes so big that the fish seems a clueless wonder. Due to its large dark eyes, the longspine thornyhead has been given the unfortunate nickname of the “idiot fish”. Ouch!

This groundfish, who lives 1-2 kilometres under the surface of the ocean off the coast of Vancouver Island, exists in a habitat of low oxygen, sunlight & food. As if that isn’t enough to adapt to! These ‘idiots’ also live in an area with an extraordinary level of water pressure. Not a lot is known about this wonderful creature yet it is still being fished for consumption in global markets.

What a great opportunity to come down and stare deep into those huge alluring eyes that will tell you stories about the world before we came along. You don’t really believe these fish are idiots, do you?

Who makes friends with an idiot? Tanner crabs and threadfin sculpins aren’t afraid to admit it.

Thanks to the crew of the Ocean Rebel, we have these guys to show off too. There may even be sablefish (a.k.a. ‘black cod’) swimming around. These are species that our normal collecting techniques (beach seining and diving) never allow us to see, so we are very excited.

We hope you will share our excitement and come down to the Aquarium for a look.

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