by Erin Loury, Ichthyology Lab
On this, the national day of overeating, I thought I would kick off our new featured photo segment with an example of a stuffed gullet from the animal world. For my thesis studying what gopher rockfish eat, I’ve cut open a lot of fish (somewhere in the ballpark of 700, and finally as of this week there are no more fish in my freezer! Woohoo!). Every now and again I’ll see something surprising or out of the ordinary – but none so much as this one.
To give you some perspective, most gopher rockfish stomachs that are empty or have a bit a food are the size of my thumb. The one pictured above was closer to the size of my fist. I’ll put it this way – their stomach lining is some kind of fantastic elastic. What floors me is that this little porker was caught with hook and line, meaning after all that eating, it still went for some bait. But I guess when that pie comes around at the end of tonight, I’ll probably be able to relate.
Just what kind of food does a gopher rockfish pack in at such staggering volumes? Stay tuned to find out!