Saturday, January 27, 2007

Come fly with me

So I put a bit of a teaser up for this one on 6/01/07 and in so doing probably gave away the most spectacular image I have of the flying gurnard, Dactyloptena orientalis, which is this top down shot of the spread wings:

gurnard1



Flying gurnards are found throughout the tropics and there are temperate species too (although these look slightly different. Bill Oddie once said that if someone asks a birdwatcher to tell them what a "strange bird" they saw in their British garden was then no matter how they described it there was a 90per cent chance it would be a jay or woodpecker. Gurnards fulfill that role for divers. Descriptions of a strange thingy/fish/crabthing walking/flying/swimming/crawling across the sea floor are often attributable to divers seeing gurnards...and to be fair they don't really look like anything else to use in a description.

gurnard3


I think the wings serve a similar purpose to the eyespots on a peacock butterfly; that is to startle predators but I'm honestly not sure. I can tell you that they stand out on the sand rather wonderfully.

Speaking of things with wings IATB41 is up at Snail's eye view. Lots of new participants and the usual high standard of writing.

2 comments:

Carl Buell (OGeorge) said...

Incredible critter! Very nice photo tour going back over the last few weeks' posts. I've been in court or bed most of this month. Glad to be back at the computer.

tai haku said...

he is rather special isn't he Carl, nice to hear from you again - hope neither court nor bed were due to anything too serious.