Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Next stop Wonderpuff.

10 or more years ago a movie called "Next Stop Wonderland" was aired on one of the local TV channels ever so often . I remember watching it every time it aired and I'm not a fan of romantic comedies but this movie had something enchanting, despite many weak points and cliches in the script.

The movie is about a life of a bitter lonely young woman and there's a parallel story about the balloon fish called "Puff". The woman encounters men who keep trying to present themselves as something which they are not, they keep trying to self-inflate themselves, just like the balloon fish, in order to conquer the female. I adored that witty symbolic function of the balloon fish and that is how I became interested in this unusual fish species.

via Gooseflash

So balloon fish or puffer fish or blow fish can puff themselves two or three times their normal size. Puffing helps them defend from predators by turning into an inedible ball and also helps them attract the partner in the mating season.
Almost every balloon fish contains tetrodotoxin, a substance which is deadly to humans. In Japan, meat of a balloon fish called "fugu" is considered to be a delicacy and the dish is prepared by the specially trained chefs. Just one wrong cut in the dish preparation and the outcome is lethal. Would you try it? I would.

The story I have read at Spoon&Tomago seems so unreal , that I choose to believe in it.
Apparently, Yoji Ookata, the underwater photographer, had discovered a perfectly symmetrical pattern in the sand while diving near the coast of Japan and decided to bring a camera crew there to investigate it.

Images courtesy: Yoji Ookata

They started rolling the cameras, observed the spot day and night, and it turned out that the creator of this incredible piece of art was one tiny balloon fish. Yes. One tiny male balloon fish made this in an attempt to attract females for mating. Attracted by the grooves and ridges, female puffer fish would find their way to the male puffer fish where they would mate and lay eggs in the center of the circle. Here's the artist creating the artwork, using just his flapping fin:

Images courtesy: Yoji Ookata

After the romantic part, I'll be ending the post with another story about Puff. This time Puff is a little curious puffer fish who is easily captivated with light and everything new....

Monday, November 5, 2012


Production and emission of light produced by a chemical reaction in living organisms is one of the most beautiful things to be seen in nature. Many sea creatures have this ability, some fungus, insects, worms and some bacteria also.

Students at Montana State University of Art in collaboration with Center for Biofilm Engineering , did an astonishing project back in 2002./2003. They made bioluminescent paintings using billions of bioluminescent bacteria.

Copyright 2002. MSU-Bozeman Bioglyphs Project

They placed the bacteria in special dishes, practically painting with an invisible ink which would become visible after 24 hours because that's how long it took for the bacteria to multiply exponentially. Only when multiplied, these bacteria would start to illuminate. I think it's such an unusual characteristic and quite a mystery for these organisms to emit the light only when in community and not when they are alone.

After several days, the light production would reach its peak and then gradually start to decline. And that's how long the exhibition of the paintings had lasted.

And so, after exactly one year, completely by accident, I finally discover where Balam Acab got his photo from:

Copyright 2003. MSU-Bozeman Bioglyphs Project