#200Fish

Worm pipefish in a rockpool (collage of painted papers and card) ~ my contribution to the #200Fish project with artists illustrating 200 species of fish from the North Sea.

Collage of worm pipefish in a rock pool
Hiding amongst the seaweed in the rockpools of the North Sea coast, could be this relative of the seahorse.  The worm pipefish (Nerophis lumbriciformis) has a similar upturned snout to a seahorse and exhibits similar behaviour with the parental duties being undertaken by the male.

Females are larger, more colourful and more active than males. After courtship and mating, the female transfers about 150 eggs into a shallow groove on the male’s belly. The male protects the eggs until they hatch as free-swimming baby pipefish and drift away in the current. Here, the males parental responsibilities end.

As breeding is correlated with seawater temperatures below 15.5°C, these fish are likely to be susceptible to changes in ocean temperatures. Extreme site fidelity and homing behaviour has also been documented in worm pipefish so they are perhaps unlikely to respond well to change.

Worm pipefish grow to about 15cm long (illustrated lifesize, artwork size: 21.5cm x 31.5cm).

 

Information from:

The IUCN Red List

MarLIN – The Marine Life Information Network

 

 

#200Fish is a project of Transition Town Louth

 

 

 

Sleeping fruit bats

Sleeping golden-capped fruit bats look so snug with their wings wrapped around their bodies. Perhaps it’s because their wings are huge. They are the largest bats in the world and when their wings are stretched out… their wingspan is as wide as I am tall. Imagine a colony of thousands of them: the sound of their wings beating through the air as they take flight at dusk.

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Golden-capped fruit bats

They are found only in the Philippines and in the 1920s colonies of 150,000 individuals were reported (probably of a mix of species). Their numbers have plummeted. The total population of golden-capped fruit bats is now estimated to be around one or two percent of what it was 200 years ago: possibly no more than 20,000 individuals.

As night falls, the bats leave their roosting sites in search of fruit to feed on. Figs are a favourite and they may fly as far as 30 kilometres in search of them. Fruit bats play an important role in the forest dispersing seeds and as pollinators.

Click on the image to download a golden-capped fruit bat colouring page:

fruitbats_colouring

Golden-capped fruit bat (Acerodon jubatus) further information:

Flowers that smell like the dead

My least favourite plant for smell alone is hedge woundwort. It’s related to mint but is really unpleasantly stinky. It makes me shudder just to think about it. Luckily the fetid scent is only released when you crush the leaves. However in the forests of south-east Asia, the scent of Rafflesias have a much-more potent reputation. Named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, Rafflesias are also known as corpse flowers because they smell of rotting flesh. These amazing plants are found only in south-east Asia and amongst the 28 different species are some of the biggest flowers in the world. The largest Rafflesia arnoldii is found on Sumatra, Java and Borneo, and can grow to an impressive 1 metre across.

The smell of the super-sized flowers attracts flies but they’re not being lured to their death. The flies are actually pollinators and transfer pollen from plant to plant. Rafflesias aren’t carnivorous but they are parasites. Their roots spread inside their host vines.

The smallest ‘biggest’ flower in the world is Rafflesia consueloae. It was discovered on a mountainside in Luzon in the Philippines in February 2014. Unlike it’s larger cousins, it smells of coconut!

rafflesia

The collage is life-size with a Philippine 1 peso for scale.