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Image of the Day: Warp Speed

Snipefish use a recoil mechanism to feed rapidly.

Jul 5, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra
This video, 66 times slower than real life, shows a snipefish (Macroramphosus scolopax) feeding strike. 
SARAH J. LONGO

ABOVE: Half the head of a snipefish (Macroramphosus scolopax) has been digitally dissected in this micro-CT scan reconstruction to reveal the internal structures. SARAH J. LONGO

Snipefish (Macroramphosus scolopax), like their seahorse relatives, employ a spring mechanism for feeding, according to research published yesterday (July 4) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The fish speedily rotate their trumpet-like snouts using stored elastic energy and suck prey into their distended mouths in 2 ms. The researchers used high-speed videos that were slowed down to observe the feeding strike motion.

S.J. Longo et al., “Extremely fast feeding strikes are powered by elastic recoil in a seahorse relative, the snipefish, Macroramphosus scolopax,” Proc R Soc B, doi:10.1098/rspb.2018.1078, 2018.

This is an animated dissection of a snipefish (Macroramphosus scolopax) created from a micro-CT scan. 
SARAH J. LONGO 


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