A beautiful work of art, a labor of love, literally
March 29, 2017 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Wait for it. Divers have been mystified by the crop circles that appeared on the ocean floor. Japanese scientists, Hiroshi Kawase, Yoji Okata & Kimiaki Ito discovered, finally, what they were. (Previously & previously)

The lowly pufferfish creates these marvelous works of art, a mandala of love, making just the right place for their fertilized eggs.
posted by nickyskye (36 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
 
I suggest imagining the puffer fish going "Wheeeeee!" as it wiggles through and then descends the trenches.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:19 PM on March 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


Subject of at least one other work of art in a different medium.
posted by sagc at 3:19 PM on March 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Man, I need to up my game. The sediment in the center of my mandala thingy isn't nearly as pure.
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 3:24 PM on March 29, 2017 [6 favorites]


From the last link: "We now know a small species of pufferfish has been behind them all along."

THAT'S JUST WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK
posted by AFABulous at 3:28 PM on March 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


This is puffing amazing.
posted by Elmore at 3:32 PM on March 29, 2017 [6 favorites]


>{' o '}<

The lowly pufferfish

>{_____ ` o ยด _____}<
posted by Going To Maine at 3:36 PM on March 29, 2017 [71 favorites]


And my wife complains when I pull doughnuts in the driveway... it's art honey!
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:37 PM on March 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


The pufferfish looks so pleased with itself as it works, as well it should be.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:39 PM on March 29, 2017 [15 favorites]


Earnestest swain ever.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:43 PM on March 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


I want to know what the heck kind of lens they use to shoot that. It's as bright as if it was on land at noon yet I suspect it's kind of dark underwater. And it must be a big zoom lens, which are not known for being super wide aperture.

Also, geez, that's a lot of work to mate. What do make pufferfish eat?
posted by GuyZero at 3:45 PM on March 29, 2017


If you want it then you better put a ring on the bottom of the ocean
If you want it then you better put a ring on the bottom of the ocean
All the single pufferladies
All the single pufferladies
posted by clawsoon at 3:55 PM on March 29, 2017 [47 favorites]


This is just astonishing and beautiful. Thank you for posting it.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:02 PM on March 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


The puff shack
Is a little old place where
We can get together

[...]

Bang! Bang!
On the ocean floor baby!
Bang! Bang!
Dig a little more sugar!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:10 PM on March 29, 2017 [8 favorites]


Go pufferfish! That's great!
posted by rmd1023 at 4:11 PM on March 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Crop circles"? Is sand an agricultural product?
posted by ardgedee at 4:56 PM on March 29, 2017


Small yet mighty!
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 4:56 PM on March 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is the most amazing and delightful thing I've seen all day! <3
posted by spindrifter at 5:01 PM on March 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


this is excellent! good work pufferfish!!
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 5:07 PM on March 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd play the heck out of a FPMM* starring that little fellow.

------
*First Person Mandala Maker
posted by notyou at 5:14 PM on March 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


The really surprising thing is that this is also the origin of crop circles on land.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:18 PM on March 29, 2017 [17 favorites]


/swipes through her Tinder looking for the puffer fish
/no fish :|
posted by oflinkey at 5:18 PM on March 29, 2017 [6 favorites]


my name is puf
and wen its nite
or wen the water
feels just rite
i make a pattern
so complex
the lady fish
wil give me sex
posted by drlith at 5:38 PM on March 29, 2017 [85 favorites]


/swipes through her Tinder looking for the puffer fish

Should have checked on Plentyoffish, duh.
posted by drlith at 5:41 PM on March 29, 2017 [12 favorites]


That is pretty. For most of us it more likely that we'll see bowers constructed by bowerbirds. Bowers serve a similar function if making art in the hopes of attracting a mate can be considered functional.
posted by rdr at 6:06 PM on March 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


This even makes *me* want to have sex with the little guy.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:21 PM on March 29, 2017 [6 favorites]


Isn't t fish sex in general pretty...anti-climactic?
posted by cookie-k at 7:01 PM on March 29, 2017


This even makes *me* want to have sex with the little guy.
posted by Slarty Bartfast


Eh, well... that's quite a risk.
There is enough toxin in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.
I guess it'd be ok if you were the one getting release... but... don't be the one on his receiving end....
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:06 PM on March 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I've been showing this to anyone who visits my place since I saw it on Netflix a couple of months ago (starts at 9:42). I was blown away.

I want to know what the heck kind of lens they use to shoot that.

Episode 11 of Life Story covers how they shot it.
posted by juiceCake at 7:29 PM on March 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


Fucking nature, man.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:19 PM on March 29, 2017


Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:52 PM on March 29, 2017


So CUTE, so sexy, so deadly!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:56 PM on March 29, 2017


I want to know what the heck kind of lens they use to shoot that. It's as bright as if it was on land at noon yet I suspect it's kind of dark underwater.

I met some of these guys off Karpathos in the Mediterranean (they're one of many Lessepsians): they inhabit pretty shallow waters, so there's plenty of light for filming them. The other peculiar thing about them is, given that instead of escape, their defence is to puff themselves (which makes their little spikes stand on end), they're one of the very few fish who won't immediately swim away when you approach - which makes for very "willing" subjects.
posted by progosk at 11:16 PM on March 29, 2017


The fish in the big storm drains near my morning walk, not catfish but something else, do this too. On a much smaller proportionate scale to their bodies as the circles are about 1.5-2 x the size of their bodies, but it is Finn to watch them go round in circles making these mounds in the silt and then posturing and chasing off rivals from nearby circles, hovering over their little circles and so on. They don't last very long with the rain intakes washing them away, but they seem to hatch plenty of small fry fast enough in the shallow silted part where the nesting fish swarm.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 11:31 PM on March 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


That is pretty. For most of us it more likely that we'll see bowers constructed by bowerbirds. Bowers serve a similar function if making art in the hopes of attracting a mate can be considered functional.

This made me think of bowerbirds too, rdr, mainly because of a theory of the evolution of the bower which is mentioned in your link:
Ernest Thomas Gilliard suggested the transfer effect, in which he claimed that there is an inverse relationship between bower complexity and the brightness of plumage. Gilliard suggests that there is an evolutionary "transfer" of ornamentation in some species, from their plumage to their bowers, in order to reduce the visibility of the male and thereby its vulnerability to predation.[12]
Pufferfish parallels with bowerbirds go beyond the bower in that, like the bowerbird, they are pretty nondescript, which is in sharp contrast to the startling flamboyance of lots of other other highly poisonous sea life, such as lionfish, for example, which also "have complex courtship and mating behaviors."

The Wikipedia article dismisses it, but I think there must be something to the transfer effect, and I would bet that, if we could view the ancestors of the puffer fish each in the context of its own mandala, we would see a gradual progression from a highly colorful fish over a rudimentary structure to the unprepossessing non-entity above a castle of its own creation which we have before us today.

But I don't quite get why the pufferfish would benefit from being so unremarkable. Snapping up one of these guys by accident could be fatal along two independent axes for a predator, yet probably not that great for the pufferfish either, so it would seem to pay to advertise -- lionfish apparently have no significant predators.

Is there (or was there) some superpredator out there which can eat them without being poisoned or suffering a fatal blockage of its digestive tract?
posted by jamjam at 11:33 PM on March 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


Mr. Pufferfish: It's finished! My finest yet!
Mrs. Pufferfish: Let's see how it looks if you move that shell to the other side.
posted by sixpack at 7:58 AM on March 30, 2017 [4 favorites]


This made me think of bowerbirds too

Bowerbirds are covered in the same episode as well.
posted by juiceCake at 6:32 PM on March 30, 2017


« Older Dinner through the eyes of a photographer and a...   |   It Is The Flag Of A Hostile Nation, If We Are To... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments