Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 google plus Instagram YouTube Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015

Top 10 new species of 2015: Cartwheeling spiders, 'chicken from hell' and a giant stick insect celebrated in the year's first official list (10)

By RICHARD GRAY (Mail Online)    14:30, December 23, 2015

The artistic pufferfish

Name: Torquigener albomaculosus

Location: Amami-Ōshima Island, Japan

What is it: A pufferfish that creates sandcastles under the sea

Why it made the list: For nearly 20 years scientists hav puzzled over the origin of intricate circles with geometric designs about six feet in diameter that appeared on the seafloor off the coast of Amami-Ōshima Island.

They turned out to be the work of a new species of pufferfish,Torquigener albomaculosus. Males construct these circles as spawning nests by swimming and wriggling in the seafloor sand. The nests, used only once, are made to attract females.

The nests have double edges and radiating troughs in a spoke-like geometry, but the design is not just for show.

Scientists discovered the ridges and grooves of the circle serve to minimize ocean current at the center of the nest. This protects the eggs from the turbulent waters and possibly predators too.

Yoji Okata, an underwater photographer, first observed the artistic behavior. Subsequently, a team of ichthyologists and a television crew carried out an expedition to record the phenomenon.

The male pufferfish (shown right above) nips the female on the cheek with a 'love bite' while he fertilises the eggs she lays in his nest


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(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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