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Hammer Time

  • Written by CSA Ocean Sciences
  • Category: Blog

Hammerhead sharks are certainly on the animal kingdom’s short list for unusual morphology. Much has been written on the adaptive functions of the T-shaped head, also known as a cephalofoil, which appears to enhance maneuverability and sensory functions in these sharks. Not only are the eyes and nostrils (nares) laterally separated on opposite sides of the hammer to increase reception coverage, the ventral surface of the hammer is also peppered with tiny sensory pits (ampullae of Lorenzini) that detect the electromagnetic signals emitted by prey. These facets result in a “search beam” much wider than that of a similar sized shark with a normally shaped head. Like mine sweepers, hammerhead sharks can scan the seafloor for prey buried out of sight and needing additional sensory assistance to locate.

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Farmers on the Reef

  • Written by CSA Ocean Sciences
  • Category: Blog

Farming was a major step in the development of human societies, helping to free us from the uncertainty of living off the land. But, not surprisingly, other animals were “farming” long before humans were even hunting and gathering on the open plains of Africa.

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Keeping the Clients Happy

  • Written by CSA Ocean Sciences
  • Category: Blog

Cleaning behavior by fishes is a phenomenon in which an individual of one species (the “cleaner”) removes annoying external parasites (ectoparasites) as well as mucus, dead skin, and other material from the body surfaces of another species (the “client”). Cleaning behavior occurs in a variety of environmental settings including freshwater, but it is best documented on coral reefs.

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