17 November 2011

The Mystery of the Sole

This fish could well be the coolest thing on earth. The sole, Solea solea. I went to the aquarium a few months ago and they were on display in a tank of just sand and a few soles. It's an amazing display of camouflage. You wouldn't know the fish were there until they move. Absolute masters of disguise. But that's not why they're amazing. When you look at them, you would think their bodies are flattened like a ray, dorso-ventrally. Look closer and you can see a little pectoral fin and one of the gills on top of it, but both its eyes are on top of its head. My mind was blown by this. How can this fish be asymmetrical? What does the bottom of it look like? It feels like quite a silly thing to get excited about but I finally looked them up now and solved the mystery of the sole.

When they are born they have a distinct right and left side to their body, with one eye on each side. One eye then migrates to the other side, which becomes the top side of the fish for the rest of its life.
Tell me that's not amazing!! If it's quite a well-known fact then I'm a little embarassed, but it's news to me and it makes these things the coolest fish.

Sole and plaice © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book

Anyway, that's all :) I enjoyed myself. Have a good day!

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