Pearlfish hides in sea cucumber’s butt

Just to end the work week, here’s a BBC video of one animal (a fish) hiding inside the nether orifice of another (an echinoderm).  A lot of people think this is gross, but being a biologist sort of immunizes you against that kind of reaction. And if you think it’s gross, you miss how interesting it is.

 

h/t: Paul

33 Comments

  1. Michael Fisher
    Posted September 21, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Are batteries included?

  2. Posted September 21, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I think it is interesting AND gross! Of course, I am not a biologist so I am not immune.

    • Posted September 21, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Both. (And I am a biologist.)

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted September 21, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      I know the feeling. When I first heard about the theory from development of deuterostomes (including chordates such as us) vs proteostomes that the first opening (the blastopore) becomes the anus (while in protostomes the mouth) I was both interested and icked.

      I read last week that there is now evidence that the coelom is the result of an invagination and fissure closure deciding mouth/anus polarity, which is perhaps giving both sides the worst of it … interesting, ick.

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted September 21, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Same for me. But I am also a Pratchett fan so I like the idea that you find pearlfish where the sun doesn’t shine.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 21, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      I’m not a biologist, and I just think it’s interesting. I think I’d feel differently if it was a land animal. For some reason, the sea makes a difference in my mind, which I know makes no sense. But, as I said, I’m no biologist, or even a scientist.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted September 22, 2018 at 3:50 am | Permalink

        I think it makes a difference indeed, it does make sense, Heather.
        In aquatic animals the detritus (read shit) is diluted in the water, while in land animals it is concentrated in a stinking mass of rotting substance, teeming with bacteria, and not all of them benign. I think it is less icky than dung beetles or flies lying their eggs in cattle pancake.

  3. Serendipitydawg
    Posted September 21, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Given the choice, I would opt for an echinoderm.

  4. Posted September 21, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    There may be a benefit to the sea cucumber… sensation of pleasure like only a sea cucumber can? all those gritty bits brushed off the tract wall? a pearl fish enema sort of speak.
    It is as humourous as it is interesting, well to this silly human.

  5. Claudia Baker
    Posted September 21, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    It is VERY interesting.
    But also, ew.

  6. Posted September 21, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Holy crap.. double pearlfish penetration.
    Mucho eew and hilarious, and resourceful.

  7. Jon
    Posted September 21, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    life is a funny thing

  8. Merilee
    Posted September 21, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting and funny.😮 closest I could find to an “I’m being goosed” emoji. Wonder where the expression “goosed” comes from?

    • Posted September 21, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      I’m guessing it is from the goose’s favored manner of attack. Their beaks are at just the right height to deliver a tweak to one’s butt.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 21, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      I took this from the Straight Dope site:

      A Dictionary of Obscenity, Taboo and Euphemism (James McDonald, 1988): “(col.) To copulate with, or more generally to touch in a sexually sensitive area.

      The earliest meaning was ‘to copulate with’, which is not surprising given the origin of the term. To goose is really to goose and duck, rhyming slang for fuck.

      I don’t trust this 1988 source – it’s too recent & doesn’t supply references, but it’s my favourite explanation. I’d normally go through more reliable slang dictionary sources, but can’t get at them today because My online library sub has run out. There’s also a boring American definition – to boost, as in promote, a product or service.

  9. Posted September 21, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Looked like at least two Pearlfish in residence. Apartment complex?

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/phenomena/2016/05/10/how-this-fish-survives-in-a-sea-cucumbers-bum/

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 21, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Up to 15 [or was it 17? Can’t recall] pearlfish have been found in one sea cucumber arse.

      • Posted September 21, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        You are a pearl (not pearlfish) of wisdom. I’ve been trying to connect with the mudfish site with no success.

        Who could imagine one site where so many eclectic topics are discussed?! I love it!

        • Posted September 21, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          Dang! Not “mudfish”. “Mudcat” (even though mudcats are mudfish.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted September 21, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            I’ve linked to it for you – its up & running fine

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted September 21, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          mudfish? Do you mean mudcat.org Rowena? HERE

          Good site once one figures out using the search function – very difficult to browse otherwise.

          • Christopher
            Posted September 21, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

            Or was it a mud shark? (An old reference to be sure but that’s where my mind went).

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 21, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        It gets better… apparently the pearlfish lubricate themselves with mucus before, errm, entry.

        AND, it is speculated that the multiple pearlfish may be, errm, breeding while in residence. Having an orgy in a sea cucumber’s arse.

        I tell ya, the Creator had an utterly depraved sense of humour. 🙂

        cr

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted September 21, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          I’ve often thought one reason we don’t detect space faring aliens is that nearly all life can’t cut itself off from its biosphere the way we [more or less] can, making space travel very difficult. If this is a form of mutualism it would be an upward struggle for your average alien evolved, techy sea cucumber to conquer The Galaxy ~ looking dignified & Darth Vader fearsome with a flotilla of fish on board your undies is a tough ask.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted September 22, 2018 at 5:19 am | Permalink

            I, for one, welcome our posteriorly compromised alien overlords.

            cr

  10. Posted September 21, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Yum

  11. Larry Smith
    Posted September 21, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Really amazing!

    May I suggest that Mike Pence’s new secret service name and/or sobriquet should be Pearlfish? You can figure out metaphorical whys and wherefores. I think it could catch on…

    I apologize in advance if this violates any rules, but I am proposing this whilst claiming satirical intent.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 21, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Perfect!!

    • rickflick
      Posted September 21, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      Suits me just fine.

  12. Posted September 21, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Would have been a whole lot funnier if they had Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” playing in the background.

    • Diane G
      Posted September 22, 2018 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      😀

  13. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 22, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Those pearlfish are much smarter than republicans. They can’t find it with both hands.


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