As much as we want to believe we’ve seen everything under the sun, there’s still a world in the ocean that remains to be fully discovered. Despite our sophisticated, deep-diving technologies, scientists are still finding new species and underwater life forms.
Case in point: the opah (Lampris guttatus), the first warm-blooded fish ever discovered. Until now, fish have always been thought of as ectothermic, meaning that they require heat from their surrounding environment to stay warm.
The opah is a large, orange and spotted moon-shaped fish about the size of a car tire. Scientists suspected its warm-bloodedness when researching its gill tissue when they discovered that vessels carrying cold, oxygenated blood were in contact with vessels carrying warm, deoxygenated blood from the body tot the gills. Therefore, outgoing blood warms the incoming blood.
The fish’s warm blood gives it an advantage for hunting prey. Many cold-blooded fish (like tuna) can push blood to various parts of the body to keep warm during deep dives, but they have to resurface frequently to keep organs from shutting down. The opah’s bloodstream, in contrast, gives them a heightened nervous system and enables them to stay underwater longer. Who knows what the next undersea discovery will reveal!
Rods form circles in front of the room, right behind the glass windows. Butts on the floor while tips are in the air. The rods are huddled together by “height.” Some up to ten feet long. Each huddle categorizes the rod’s purpose: light tackle, jigging rods, popping, casting, spinning, trolling rods. In the middle of the room, a customer lingers on an item and calls out to the man behind the counter. Counter guy answered him. Customer then took the item and went to pay, chatting while he does, “You think the weather is good?” asked Mr. Customer. In fishing, the weather is a legitimate subject, not an awkward conversation. “Still good. Try going to The Palm, within branches. We caught some huge ones there the last time,” said counter guy. Mr. Customer smiled, said his goodbyes and left. For the next few minutes, the shop was empty except for me, Marvin – counter guy, Arlyn – his colleague, and shelf after shelf of fishing gears – a wide selection of rods, reels, baits, lures, jigs, rigs, and other paraphernalia. I call it a shop. Marvin and Arlyn call it the showroom, and for good reason.
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Have you ever wondered why they are called Sailfish? Well, many of you must have guessed it right. Yes, they are named after their spectacular sail-like cobalt blue colored dorsal fin that extends almost to the full length of their bodies and when stretched out it is taller than the width of the body. Talking further about their appearance the Sailfish have a distinctively rounded bill which is actually an extended upper jaw. The elongated body is usually silvery blue in color with brown spots on the belly.
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