underwater crop circles

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Mysterious Underwater Crop Circles Created by Puffer Fish

Using underwater cameras, researchers in Japan found that small puffer fish swim through the day and night to create these vast organic sculptures, that look like crop circles, using the movement of a single fin. The team found the circles serve a variety of crucial ecological functions, the most important of which is to attract mates. Apparently the female fish are attracted to the hills and valleys within the sand and traverse them carefully to discover the male fish where the pair eventually lay eggs at the circle’s center, the grooves later acting as a natural buffer to ocean currents that protect the delicate offspring. Scientists also learned that the more ridges contained within the sculpture resulted in a much greater likelihood of the fish pairing. This video shows a puffer fish in the process of making one of the beautiful designs.

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A Pufferfish’s Garden

For years divers off the coast of Japan encountered these enormous, 2 metre diameter ‘mystery circles’ on the sandy sea floor. Recently we found out who was making them.

This huge underwater crop-circle is the mating display of the male Torquigener pufferfish. The small (12 cm) fish takes 7-9 days to meticulously prepare one of these elaborate gardens. It seems that the sole purpose of the garden is to attract a mate, and provide a good site to lay her eggs.

If their garden catches a mate’s eye, the male will hang around for another 6 days to care for the eggs, before moving on to a new location, and starting a new garden.

This small pufferfish produces one of the most elaborate displays known in nature.

- OB

Image Credit: http://goo.gl/PCahFI

Original Article: http://goo.gl/Nh85tD

A Video (Attenborough!): http://goo.gl/9TmPI4