This could easily be the part II of my previous post ‘He knows how to win hearts‘. Because this small marine creature creates an amazing piece of art – to entice the female of his species.
A few years ago these artistic sand sculptures were noticed for the first time on the ocean floor off the coast of Amami Oshima island, Japan. But the creator or the origin of these circles was a mystery till recent times.
As per the scientific reports, the male fish of the Japanese Puffer fish species painstakingly constructs these circles on the ocean floors and these are their nests. It takes almost ten days of hard work for this small 5 inch (12 cm.) long fish to build this nest on the sandy bottom of the ocean. (Though not yet proved, these fish possibly belong to the genus Torquigener)
He swims in from the outer side of the circle towards its center and while doing so, it digs or disperses the sand with his pectoral and tail fins
At the center of the sculpture is a circle of fine sand with some irregular patterns and around this central portion is the radial design of peaks and valleys.The male fish burrows back and forth creating channels in the sand that appear like spokes of a wheel. After creating this design the puffer fish also decorates it with shells and pieces of corals etc. The size of this sculpture is almost 2 meters in diameter, which is quite big compared to the size of the fish. It really is a wonder that how such a small fish can construct such a big pattern with exact symmetry.
One needs to watch a Puffer fish video to believe this incredible work.
Sir David Attenborough’s words: ‘I promise you I speak the literal truth when I say I was shocked when I saw it. Had I not known who filmed it, I would swear it was a fake, done by computer imagery. It is like an enormously complex flower with symmetrical petals all the way around.’ (Courtesy: radiotimes.com)
The exact reason for creating such large design is not known, but it could be due to the less than clear visibility at the bottom of the ocean. So, may be a big pattern is necessary to attract the attention of a female.
When the female arrives, she inspects the nest and the decorations etc. If she likes it, she lays her eggs at the center, where the fine sand is arranged in irregular pattern. Not the female, but the male fish continues to take care of the eggs. He keeps fanning the eggs to keep them oxygenated. The grooves of the sculpture act as natural buffer to the oceanic currents and the eggs are protected from the strong flow of water.
Once the eggs are hatched in around 6 days, the male Puffer fish once again starts building another nest in nearby location.
Isn’t this simply amazing work of art?