New York Times Articles: Fish Sounds and Mutualism

Thanks to two readers, the infamous Mike Witherspoon and the illustrious Tanya Poon, we have been alerted to two mega-sweet articles in the New York Times.

The first from the Science Times yesterday tells the story of Cape Coral, Florida, a coastal town that was alarmed by a strange noise coming from the ocean which "reverberat[ed] through their homes." The townsfolk- mostly retirees -almost got their government to dish out $47,000 to an engineering company to fix the municipal utility system that they blamed for the racket. Turns out it was the powerful mating calls of a fish called the black drum that was causing all the disturbance. The article is pretty rad. The accompanying multimedia piece, however, enters a new level of awesomeness. It has the eerie noises of all different fish for your listening pleasure. Is it weird that after hearing the call of the toad fish, I want to mate with one?

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If you listen very carefully, you can hear him screaming for his life...

The other piece is from the Wild Side a New York Times blog by Olivia Judson, evolutionary biologist and...

...reporter for the Economist. First of all, a NY Times Blog!? What a joke! Seed Mag probably rejected her like 12 times before they finally took her in. Anyway, in her entry Judson discusses myriad instances of mutualism in nature, i.e. different species of animals relying on each other for survival. Unfortunately, she focuses on the most cliched example to begin her point: Let's face it, the goby and shrimp tandem has been covered more than Anna Nicole's bazillionaire baby.

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They go together like lamb and tuna fish....Maybe you like spagetti and meatball? You are more comfortable with that analogy?

Luckily, Judson redeems herself by naming some more obscure creatures as well, such as the bobtail squid which keeps a trillion tiny bacteria in a special chamber inside it to use as a light in the murky depths.

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I would like to have one of these on the end of a key chain...

She also fleshes out the idea of mutualism to help her readers understand that the word itself is a mere blanket term for a huge array of different interspecies alliances that can be vastly different from one another.

I think I may want to mate with the New York Times if it keeps putting out articles like these...


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and did you catch on the video - one of the experts is named "Andrew Bass".

That is an amazing story and the links are great...especially the link with all the sounds...I have spent far tooooo long listening to them all as I live on a beach. Cheers from ocean.