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    Plastic Is the Ocean’s New Junk Food

    By 2050, it’s likely that plastic in the oceans will outweigh all the oceans’ fish.

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    Fish Can Be Smarter Than Primates

    To understand the plurality of intelligence, look under water.

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    This Legendary Deep-Sea Fish Sighting Continues to be Debated After 60 Years

    Once, while fishing for salmon, I hooked a clam. It fought bravely, and when I finally pulled it from the water I could see that I hadn’t just snagged it, as you might expect, but that it had taken the bait willingly. These are minor points; what matters here is that the clam, so different […]

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    The Hated, Invasive Parasite That’s Actually a Key Part of Its Ecosystem

    Sea lampreys showing off their unusual mouthsJoanna Gilkeson/USFWS Several years ago, a young man bow-fishing on New Jersey’s Raritan river spotted a long, thin creature in the murky water. He shot the animal through the neck, reeled it in, and posed for photographs. Eventually a friend posted one to Reddit. Within days it went viral, […]

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    This Tool-Using Sniper Changed What We Think About Fish

    An archerfish lets fly at its unsuspecting prey.Ingo Rischawy / Schuster lab, University of Bayreuth    Few animals have had their cognitive abilities maligned like fish. Myths about their dullness abound—no doubt you’ve heard the one about goldfish’s three-second memories. But have you also heard the one about gobies memorizing the location of rock pools? Or coral […]

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    Weaving the World’s Stories Like an Expert Carpet-Maker

    To explain her motivations as a writer, Anna Badkhen quotes the Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert: “you have little time you must give testimony.” Badkhen recently stopped by the Nautilus office to sit for an interview and take us behind the scenes of “The Men Who Planted Trees,” her cover story for the Spring 2014 Nautilus […]

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    Strange Eyeless Fish Creates Its Own Sonar Signals to “See”

    The blind cavefish alongside two of its sighted relativesImage Courtesy of NYU Deep in some pitch-black, underwater caves in Mexico, there lives a peculiar little pinkish-white fish. Only about four inches long, this albino has taste buds on the outside of its lower jaw, sleeps very little, and, most interestingly, has no eyes.  This blind […]

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    An Eel Swims in the Bronx

    George Jackman scales the Bronx River’s 182nd Street dam while working with the eel ladder (at top-right).John Waldman In the annals of natural history, there is perhaps no fish so singularly unusual, even mysterious, as Anguilla, the eels. Unlike every other migratory fish on Earth, they spawn in the open ocean and mature inland, in […]

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    Handy Genetic Switch Helps You Grow Hands—or Paws, or Fins

    When an enormous four-finned fish surfaced in a South African fisherman’s catch in 1938, scientists were fascinated by its resemblance to fossilized creatures that had died out millions of years ago. The fish, called a coelacanth, turned out to be the first descendant of those organisms ever spotted by humans. The two living species identified […]