Open House countdown: 16 days!
One of the most popular events at open house is fish printing! You won’t want to miss a chance to make a piece of this beautiful artwork (called gyotaku in Japanese). And those slippery fish can be full of surprises – watch the video and read Ben’s account below of the unexpected “special delivery” at last year’s fish printing!
by Ben Perlman, Ichthyology Lab
Most species of fishes lay eggs – but did you know that some species actually give birth to live young? That’s right! Some fishes, like the surfperches, give birth to little babies that look just like their parents. Of course, they are a lot smaller! Fishes that give birth in this form are called “viviparous.” That fancy word means “live bearer.”
Surfperches live all along the coast of California in just about every marine habitat, including one species that lives in freshwater rivers and streams. I’m studying how surfperches swim for my thesis at MLML. You can find these guys swimming around the kelp forest, hiding next to a pier piling or in the slough, hovering over rocky reefs, and especially in the surf zone. So I guess naming this family of fishes the “surf” perches was a pretty good idea. Cowabunga, dudes and dudettes!
Here at the Moss Landing Marine Labs Open House, coming up on April 25th and 26th, you never know what amazing scientific discoveries you’ll stumble upon. Last year at our popular fish printing activity, two young ladies were painting the top of a barred surfperch and were ready to put a piece of paper on top of it to press down and make their very own masterpiece. As the girls were pressing down on the fish, to their incredible surprise and everyone around them, little babies popped out of the fish! Lots of ooohs and aaahs echoed around the lab! A couple of other kids said “How cool” or Wow, I never knew that little fishies came out like that!”
I was able to take that opportunity to help explain this unique characteristic about how surfperches give birth. So who knows what will happen this year at our Open House? Come on down and make some new discoveries! See ya there!