A few predators from the deep!
The past few days have been absolutely beautiful and the water has been so calm that it looks like glass. Yesterday after breakfast we went outside for our morning ocean air and observed a waterspout form, grow larger, and then dissipate. The sunset last night was amazing as well, with bright magenta hues accompanied by schools of flyingfish everywhere. We have been so fortunate with the weather this week. The samples the past few days have also brought in some really awesome specimens including a fangtooth or "ogrefish" and several dragonfish.
The fangtooth, Anoplogaster cornuta, is one of the coolest fish I have seen. At first glance you can't help but notice its large fang-like teeth and its armored body and you just know that this fish has to be one of the biggest predators in the deep. The two large fangs on the lower jaw are so long that it has a pair of opposing sockets on either side of the brain to accommodate the large teeth. Its body feels rough, almost like sandpaper, whereas the other deep sea fishes feel a bit more slimy and smooth. This fish is not like any other that we have seen thus far on the trip! Truly an incredible find!
We also had a few dragonfish swim into our nets, Photostomias guernei and Echiostoma barbatum. The dragonfish also have fang-like teeth which allows them to grab onto their prey more efficiently. They are also covered with gorgeous photophores such as the one below.
Echiostoma barbatum Check out that beautiful photophore!
We are all really enjoying ourselves and having tons of fun! Although we miss our families very much, we talk about you all the time! Much love from the R.V. Point Sur. Thank you so much for reading!
Your Teacher at Sea,