Thursday 20 July 2006

Oman: something very fishy

Something was afoot on my morning run. An unusually high tide had left the beach covered with more polystyrene than normal (from fishing nets), several dead spherical fish with pokey-out eyes and a dead 70cm-long turtle. I also spotted a few groups of fish jumping out of the water. We often see individual fish jumping, but how does a group of fish leap in synch? Do they plan it, is there a group leader.....and what's the point of jumping out anyway? One web site provides the following possibilities: parasite shedding, startle-reflex, behavioral communication (to alert other individuals of their presence), to help shed eggs during spawning, nuptial behavior, and air-gulping or swim bladder adjustment. I think they've been watching old episodes of Stingray.....the bit where Titan's fish-craft jumps out of the water chasing Troy Tempest?...I rest my case.

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