Archive for 08/30/2012

Mail Tribune – 

Concerned about aquatic invasive species that have popped up in other lakes across the country, Crater Lake National Park officials have temporarily closed the lake’s pristine waters to scuba diving and other water gear uses.

The immediate closure will remain in effect until protocols are established to minimize the risk of contamination from invasive species that include quagga mussels and other species that could reduce the lake’s world-renown clarity and purity, officials said.

The protocols, which will require divers to take precautionary measures before diving into the lake, are expected to be in place before the beginning of the 2013 season.

“We have seen the devastation to ecosystems and economies caused by the inadvertent introduction of invasive species from Lake Mead to Lake Erie,” observed park superintendent Craig Ackerman.

“We want to prevent it from happening at Crater Lake rather than deal with the aftermath,” he added.

“The increasing popularity of the lake for scuba diving also increases the opportunities for divers and their gear to carry microscopic ‘hitchhikers’ into the water.”

Although the invasive species may be small, the damage caused by introducing them into the lake is enormous and often irreversible, he noted.

Full story…

RT – 

A new species of fish discovered in Vietnam is only 2 centimeters long, but its tiny size is not the creature’s only unique trait.

This fish possesses sexual organs in an unusual place: Its head. Scientists do not yet understand the evolutionary origin of the unusual placement of the fish’s reproductive system.

One theory posits that a “bilaterally asymmetric organ” under the throat is “for holding or clasping onto females and fertilizing their eggs internally.”

The vast majority of fish species fertilize their eggs after they are laid.

The Phallostethus cuulong – the scientific name of the fish – has become the 22nd member of the Phallostethidae family, a group of small, slender and nearly transparent surface-swimming fish that live in the waters of southeast Asia.

The new species was first discovered near the Mekong River in July 2009 by Japanese scientist Koichi Shibukawa.

He managed to catch it in a net, and began researching it alongside colleagues from Vietnam’s Can Tho University.

The discovery of a ‘penis-headed’ fish came less than a month after a biologist in the Amazon uncovered a species of extremely rare caecilian – a legless amphibian – that was also shockingly phallic in shape.

Full story…