Sunday, July 6, 2008

Beachcombing today

I rarely find dead fishes on the shore. The two I found previously were both banded toadfish.

This one is called the Shaw's cowfish, Shaw's boxfish or Shaw's trunkfish (Aracana aurita). This is the first time I came across this type of boxfish, although a dead one.

Boxfishes are easy to recognize because of their rigid boxlike body. Yes, it is rigid; I know because I touched it. The boxfish's body is said to be encased within a bony case made of numerous interlocking bony plates. In other words, unlike other scaled fishes, this guy has no individual scales. Interesting!

Another photo of the Shaw's cowfish is here . And I have a few photos of the smooth boxfish here.

What really interests me is that worm-like thingy coming out of the fish's body (very likely through its anus). Is that some worm that got into the fish's body and killed it? Like a parasite or something? The boxfish's body is pretty much all encased in its bony armor except places like the eyes, mouth, fins, gills, and anus. So, it makes sense that the "invader" (if it was really one) got into the fish's body though one of these gaps in the bony case. If it is just the fish's intestine, that's equally interesting - because I really wonder what will make a fish "ejects" its intestine.


Anonymous said...

Goodness, judging from the other photos it doesn't look like it's supposed to have a stinger from there. My uneducated guess is it's intestines!

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but I'll post anyway. I know in museum specimens of these fish and related ones that the intestines are ejected if the person who caught them didn't punch a hole in the carapace before bringing it up. Since the fish is hard, the quick difference in pressure when bringing it up can make the intestines shoot out either the anus or mouth.

I'm going to guess someone might have fished this on accident by hook (rather than spear, which would punch a hole) and freed it not knowing it was going to die anyway. Or maybe a predator got a hold of it and changed depth quickly.