It’s Lent - the season for fish specials and special fish. So grab a plate of the beer-battered former and take a look at two very exotic examples of the latter.
First on the line is the capture and release of a rare white blue marlin by anglers aboard a sport fishing boat off the coast of Costa Rica near Los Suenos. Pictures taken by the crew show this beautiful fish being reeled in and then carefully released by the crew.
While most reports joined with the publicity-savvy captain of the boat in calling it an albino, the International Game Fish Association issued this statement.
Although common names for marlin generally focus on color (e.g., black marlin, blue marlin, white marlin, etc.) color is typically not the best feature to use in identifying billfish. Especially in this case! The shape and size of this marlin’s dorsal and pectoral fins clearly indicate that it’s a blue marlin even though it’s not blue at all. The eye color – black, rather than red or pink – also indicates that this marlin is leucistic (which is a reduction in pigmentation) rather than albino.
Next in the net is the paper in Current Biology about the discovery off the coast of California of the Semirostrum ceruttii, a new species of porpoise related to the extinct Californian porpoise. This unusual mammal had a lower jaw measuring 85 centimeters, a massive chin when compared to the 2 centimeter one on a crown porpoise. Named for its discoverer, Richard Cerutti, and the Latin word for half-beak, it is believed the porpoise’s long jaw contained nerves which helped it probe for and scoop up small fish and crustaceans.
Two unusual sea creatures who prove once again that studying the wonders of nature is not pointless. Ouch!