Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dem bloodsucking fish!

A debate is emerging over who caught not the biggest, but the smallest fish. Last week, a researcher made news when he announced the discovery of a fish in acidic Australian swamps, whose females measure only 7.9 mm across. The scientist claimed this was the tiniest fish found until now.

The discovery raised a few scales when another researcher realised that he had chanced upon another fish before, whose males measure only 6.2 mm. The difference may not count much in daily life, but no difference is tiny enough when it comes to assigning priority and getting credit in science.

Curiously, the debate is made more complicated by the endearing fact that in the second case, the males have to undergo a bizarre metamorphosis, when they piggyback on the backs of much larger females of the species. In an event that would have befitted some gory sci-fi movie, the circulatory systems of the male and female become fused together, so that the female is doomed to have a bloodsucking male attched to her existence for the remainder of her life, a phenomenon not completely uncommon in the human world...

Sometimes size does matter, in a inverted way...


Anonymous Anirudh said...


3:15 AM  

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