Ryugu no tsukai Oarfish


Slender oarfish (Ryugu no tsukai)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Animal


ryuuguu no tsukai 竜宮の使い slender oarfish
Messenger from the palace of the Sea Dragon God

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sea serpent

This fish has been seen in greater numbers lately in the area of Kurobe and along the Nihonkai in winter 2009 / 2010.
In Japan, when these fish show in larger numbers, they are seen as a forebode for an earthquake.

When fishermen find them in their nets, they usually put them back, because their meat is not very tasty.


Oarfish are large, greatly elongated, pelagic Lampriform comprising the small family Regalecidae. Found in all temperate to tropical oceans yet rarely seen, the oarfish family contains four species in two genera. One of these, the king of herrings (Regalecus glesne), is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest bony fish alive, at up to 17 metres (56 ft) in length.

Apparently solitary animals, oarfish may frequent significant depths up to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft).

Although the larger species are considered game fish and are (to a minor extent) fished commercially, oarfish are rarely caught alive;
their flesh is not well regarded due to its gelatinous consistency.

Etymology and taxonomic history :

The oarfish family contains four species in two genera.

Genus Agrostichthys
Streamer fish, Agrostichthys parkeri (Benham, 1904)

Genus Regalecus
King of herrings, Regalecus glesne Ascanius, 1772
Regalecus kinoi Castro-Aguirre, Arvizu-Martinez & Alarcon-Gonzalez, 1991
Regalecus russelii (Cuvier, 1816)
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


A rare deep-sea creature - the slender oarfish - is helping Japanese scientists predict major earthquakes.

In Japanese folklore, if an oarfish, which normally lives at depths of more than 600 feet, is landed in nets then major tremors are not far behind.Two slender oarfish were caught in fixed nets recently only days before a series of earthquakes shook Japan. The fish are distinctive with a ribbon-shaped silver body that often measures more than 16 feet long. They have a long tasseled dorsal fin that is bright scarlet and rays out into long streamers.

According to the Tokai University Marine Museum in Japan, an oarfish was caught two days before a major earthquake on Niijima island, near Tokyo, in 1963. When shock waves hit Uwajima Bay in 1968, the same type of rare fish was caught only a few days before.

Using animals as a prediction of tremors is not new.

Scientists are divided on the reasons for animals' sixth sense. Alarmed by vibrations or unknown electric fields, songbirds in Japan are silenced before the ground shakes.

But the phenomenon of the slender oarfish is different in that the animal is dying or dead when caught on the surface. The oarfish has a unique elongated shape that could make it susceptible to underwater shock waves. It may be stunned and then float to the surface, where it dies of asphyxiation.

Another reason could be that poisonous gases, particularly hydrogen sulfide, are released from the earth's crust during seismic activity. Some species of fish are more sensitive to change in the chemical composition of their environment and die because they are unable to absorb oxygen from the water.

source : www.deseretnews.com


Creatures of the deep pose a puzzle

Marine biologists are puzzling over the rising number of oarfish, the longest bony fish to inhabit deep waters, that are washing ashore along the Sea of Japan.
The unusual fish wash up just once or twice a year at most.

But since November, at least 19 specimens have been confirmed by experts at aquariums and public fisheries centers in eight prefectures along western shores.
When other sightings are included, the total comes to nearly 40.

Most of the oarfish were dead or died shortly after being found. One specimen appeared at a port in Fukui Prefecture on Feb. 3.

"I have worked at an aquarium for years, but this was my first time to see an oarfish straight out of the sea," said Seiji Sasai, a 38-year-old staffer at Echizen Matsushima Aquarium in Sakai in the prefecture. The fish was already dead when he rushed to the port after a call from a fisherman. Four days earlier, another oarfish washed ashore nearby.

"It is baffling why these rare creatures emerged within such a short time," Sasai said.

In Japan, according to legend, the oarfish is a messenger from the sea god's palace and augurs either a great catch--or an earthquake.

The fish, which inhabit waters at least 200 meters below the surface, can grow up to 10 meters long.

Kunio Amaoka, a professor emeritus at Hokkaido University and expert on deep-sea fish, wonders if climate change is a factor.

"The oarfish inhabit warm waters," he said. "There are growing reports in coastal regions of the Sea of Japan that southern fish are now turning up in the (more northern) areas."

Masaki Miya, a senior researcher at the Natural History Museum and Institute in Chiba Prefecture, said: "First, we have no idea where they spawn or how they grow. With few clues, it is hard to say why oarfish have been found one after another."

source : www.asahi.com 2010/02/23

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

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Leafy Sea Dragon

The leafy sea dragon or
Glauerts Seadragon, Phycodurus eques,

is a marine fish in the family Syngnathidae, which also includes the seahorses. It is the only member of the genus Phycodurus. It is found along the southern and western coasts of Australia. The name is derived from the appearance, with long leaf-like protrusions coming from all over the body. These protrusions are not used for propulsion; they serve only as camouflage.
The leafy sea dragon propels itself by means of a pectoral fin on the ridge of its neck and a dorsal fin on its back closer to the tail end. These small fins are almost completely transparent and difficult to see as they undulate minutely to move the creature sedately through the water, completing the illusion of floating seaweed.
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earthquake prediction ...
here comes a rare messenger
from the Dragon Palace

Gabi Greve, March 2010

Related words




facebook said...

Brenda Roberts on facebook :
wow! fantastic photo and I love the verse.

picking daisies
from the rubble

Anonymous said...

Wow that fish is huge. I have never heard of it.
Joyce Barden Chelmo