Creatures from Waaay Down Under
July 7, 2003 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Creatures from Waaay Down Under. Things you won't find in your average bathtub. Things that did not appear in the Little Mermaid. And believe it or not, the web design is pretty good, and it's a public institution. Strange indeed. [via slashdot]
posted by namespan (16 comments total)
As in most other rattails, the males of this species have a special drum machine on their swim bladder that is used to attract females. They have to be careful though, as other fish like morid cods have hydrophones on their swim bladders to hunt down the sources of such noises.

Fabulous. Thanks, namespan.

(Must not make cheesy joke about 80s disco... Must not make cheesy joke about 80s disco)
posted by jokeefe at 11:19 AM on July 7, 2003

I have long suspected the existence of the chill Vampire Squid, which haunts the dim recesses of wharves and grocery store seafood displays, waiting to launch itself at the jugular of unsuspecting shoppers.

In this way, the Vampire Squid is sort of a vigilante Calamari Avenger, righting the wrongs of the fishing industry as a whole.

Nice link!
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:26 AM on July 7, 2003

Some of those things have big teeth.

*resolves to only swim in lakes and rivers from here on in*
posted by Salmonberry at 11:34 AM on July 7, 2003

Dooon't goo cha-sing waterfalls, please stick to the ri-vers and the lakes that you're used
posted by namespan at 11:38 AM on July 7, 2003

"The captain, Andrew Leachman... explain(s the nets used to catch ‘em)..."

"The biggest net is the “orange roughy trawl”, the same as those used by deep-sea commercial trawlers. "

"The “ratcatcher net” is a slightly smaller... "

"...“beam trawl”. This net has a round pine beam four metres long that joins two steel frame skids together. The net is towed from this frame. The lower edge of the net mouth has a ground rope with small rubber disks. It has two net cones, one inside the other: a fine mesh outer net and a super fine mesh inner liner. This trawl is used to sample seafloor life such as corals and bottom-living invertebrates and fishes. The wooden beam is used to hold the two metal skids apart and keep the net open without needing doors. Wood is used instead of stell because it can break. Under pressure the wood snaps and the net and two steel skids can still be brought to the surface, complete with the fish catch inside. The ship carries replacement beams."

"The toughest sampling device on board is the “ Sherman sled”, named after the Sherman tank. This steel-framed sled weighs 1.5 tonnes and is used on especially difficult bottom types. It has thick steel skids to slide over rocks and can sample both ways up. It tows a short net with a fine mesh liner. In case the sled gets stuck, it has four sets of “weak links”. These are chain links of known breaking strain that break when the sled becomes wedged. As they break, it shifts the point of attachment to different corners of the sled to pop it out of any jam. The sled also has “sacrificial chains” in front of the scraping blades, which will break if they hit any rocks or else pulverise the rock."

I hope they don't use them all at once!
posted by xtian at 11:43 AM on July 7, 2003

Very cool...
To get a bigger version of any of the photos, just right-click 'em and select 'View image' (or copy the url from the image properties) - the images are scaled down quite a bit using smaller-than-original width and height params.
posted by milov at 11:44 AM on July 7, 2003

Neat link. My only question is, doesn't this disturb the sea floor environment an awful lot?
posted by agregoli at 11:51 AM on July 7, 2003

No. The sea floor is undisturbed by most hypertext activity. Clicking on the link will not disturb this pristine environment.

Well, OK, it might encourage people to drag things over it in the future.
posted by weston at 12:04 PM on July 7, 2003

But seriously...
posted by agregoli at 12:14 PM on July 7, 2003

what a cool link! but, where are the menschy clownfish? :P
posted by serafinapekkala at 12:19 PM on July 7, 2003

Waaay cool link - thx, namespan.
posted by widdershins at 12:29 PM on July 7, 2003

"under da seaaaaa!"

wonderful link!
posted by Marquis at 12:42 PM on July 7, 2003

doesn't this disturb the sea floor environment an awful lot?

As in all things, the teachings of the all-father Kurt Cobain apply here:

"it's OK to eat fish, 'cause it don't have any feelings."

Seriously, there's a whole lot of ocean and this stuff isn't economically viable to trawl (key point), so it's really just scientific sampling. These guys will still be around when we're gone. I might be wrong here, but it really doesn't seem worth worrying about *shrug*. God forbid it does become economically viable to trawl, this studying is as NOTHING compared to the damage done in the name of feeding fish-eaters around the globe.
posted by Ryvar at 1:09 PM on July 7, 2003

I just want to say these evil, Edward Gorey-like, nightmare-inducing creatures are eerie and rather repulsive, particularly the serpent stars thing (which looks ominously like the transformed hot dog sausage featured in one of the posts above).
posted by 111 at 1:51 PM on July 7, 2003

The sherman trawler, probablly the most invasive of the trawlers, is about 6m accross. The earth is covered with 362,000,000 km2 of water; therefore, the damage to the sea floor should only be about 0.000000000016% of the total water area by how ever long.

Unlucky fish to be in that place at that time. ehehe
posted by xtian at 6:59 PM on July 7, 2003

Let's just hope they don't hit the watery chamber of mighty Cthulu...

Whuh-oh! Too late!
posted by backOfYourMind at 6:38 AM on July 9, 2003

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