Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Underwater sand circle mystery

Imagine you saw this sand design underwater, what would you think? Aliens? Mysterious underwater artist? How about puffer fish? Japanese diver Yoji Ookata found the sand circles and filmed puffer fish making the intricate designs. Here's the story from Colossal:
Using underwater cameras the team discovered the artist is a small puffer fish only a few inches in length that swims tirelessly through the day and night to create these vast organic sculptures using the gesture of a single fin. Through careful observation the team found the circles serve a variety of crucial ecological functions, the most important of which is to attract mates. Apparently the female fish are attracted to the hills and valleys within the sand and traverse them carefully to discover the male fish where the pair eventually lay eggs at the circle’s center, the grooves later acting as a natural buffer to ocean currents that protect the delicate offspring. Scientists also learned that the more ridges contained within the sculpture resulted in a much greater likelihood of the fish pairing.

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