Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Something completely different

Last weeks blog was about a Butterflyfish, member of the Chaetodontidae. Larvae of Chaetodon, like most marine fish, completely differ from the adult specimens. I'm presently working on larvae of the Cyprinodontidae, a family of freshwater fishes. Studying the available literature I found this article of Carole Baldwin. It includes magnificent pictures of marine fish larvae. Fish larvae are amazing, sometimes incredible and bizarre, creatures which differ so much from their ancestors, many of them have been described as new species in the past. 

Photo by Christopher Paparo (in Baldwin, 2013).
A tank reared specimen.
Knowledge of the larval stages, also known as Early Life History, is not only fascinating. It's also important to understand the relationships and variety of fish. Whereas most scientists use preserved specimens, I prefer to study live material. As fish larvae are rather small, most of them only a few mm long, it is rather difficult to make good pictures. I use combinations of photos to create line drawings. Some of the pictures in Baldwins article are truly amazing and outstanding. And surprising. Who would have guessed the photo in this blog is a larva of the fish in the painting I made? Liopropoma rubre, also known as the Peppermint Bass, is a territorial fish, found at greater depths in the Western Atlantic (from southern Florida and the Bahamas to northern South America). 

Take a look at the great pictures in: Carole C. Baldwin (2013): "The phylogenetic significance of colour patterns in marine teleost larvae" - Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 168, 496–563. With 52 figures

Buy the painting in my ETSY-shop.

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