Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Aqua circus

Crop circles found in fields have become a familiar sight. More recently mysterious, geomatric circles of sand have been discovered under water.

Notably the first crop circle was described in the 1678 news pamphlet "Strange News Out of Hartfordshire" (UK). The phenomenon became widely known in the late 1980s, after the media started to report about crop circles in the UK. Despite rumors about their alien origin, there is a scientific consensus that in nearly all cases crop circles are man-made. However there has been almost no serious scientific study of the phenomenon. In 1991, two hoaxers, Bower and Chorley, claimed authorship of many circles throughout the UK. To date, approximately 10,000 crop circles have been reported internationally. 
Detail of the painting 'Aqua circus'.
Click here to buy this painting in my ETSY-shop.

The mysterious circles under water have been explained by biologists who filmed a small, then unidentified, puffer fish building a circle. The male Japanese puffer fish created a perfect geometric circle; a nest to lure females. The rather dull colored puffer is hard to see as his coloration resembles the sandy ground of the ocean floor. Perfect for camouflage, but hopeless when you are looking for a female. The circle certainly draws the attention of the opposite sex. The first scientific report on this behavior was published in Nature in 2013. The puffer itself has been described more recent by Keiichi Matsuura (see referenceand given the name, Torquigener albomaculosus, referring to the many white spots on its body (albus = white; and maculatus = spotted). The BBC has released a video of the circle builder: 

Since the early 1990s, the UK arts collective named Circlemakers founded by artists Rod Dickinson and John Lundberg (lateron including artists Wil Russell and Rob Irving), have been creating crop circles in the UK and around the world both as part of their art practice and for commercial clients. Undoubtedly the puffer has been building his circled nest long before humans decided to create crop circles. Long before the first reported circles of 1678. The diptych pictured above is my impression of this remarkable fish and its behavior. 

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