Friday, February 23, 2007

Parasitic males

Males are blood-sucking parasites that don't contribute anything but sperm. Girl talk at the gym? No, the real story about deep-sea anglerfish.

Since it's hard to find a date in the deep sea, some angler fish have evolved an unusual mate-for-life strategy. Males are born with a strong desire to find a female quickly, because they can't even eat on their own. Males search for the smell of a female, make a beeline for the lucky girl, bite hard and hold on forever.

Eventually the jaw of the male fuses with the female's skin, the male's organs wither, and he is reduced to little more than a pair of testicles. Lucky females can have more than one "male" attached. The male is the small blob attached to the back of the female in the photo.

A story with absolutely no social significance, right ladies?


Anonymous said...

What is your opinion of "pot" fishing? Commercial pot fishing, that is, as opposed to fishing with drag or gill nets?



Mark Powell said...

Brad, IMHO, pot fishing is not better than net fishing in every fishery. Fishing methods should be matched to the fishery, including such concerns as catch, bycatch, habitat impacts, fishing operations, economics, scale, etc., etc. Switching gear from trawls to pots won't automatically end overfishing, not if too many people put out too many pots. concern about pots is that they allow fishing in rough, complex habitats that are not fishable with nets, so new habitats may be damaged by fishing with pots.

With all of that said, IMHO pots would probably be better than nets for promoting sustainability in some fisheries that currently use nets. The California spot prawn fishery recently switched from mostly nets to almost all pots, and the change was good for ocean ecosystems, I think.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for answering. I agree that it takes the right kind of gear for each specific fishery. I am concerned that fisheries using nets only have alot more bycatch issues than pot only fisheries. I also believe that bottom dragging should be stopped alltogether. I realize that a fish or crab pot leaves a 'footprint' on the seafloor that may damage such things as coral, which is certainly not good, but I believe a bottom trawl leaves a much bigger footprint on the seafloor and captures and kills everything in its path.

Also, that is interesting about the California Spot Prawn fishery. I'll have to look into that. Thanks.