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161567.  Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:41 am Reply with quote

Well quite, but you can see how it might apply in other species - that was just a bad example I chose. Still, 'cooperation' is a quite subjective term. It helps to think about the directions that information is travelling, especially in terms of the visual cues that each animal takes from the other.

The honey-guide/honey-badger one is better, because the outcome is obvious, and virtually impossible for either one alone. And the fact that the bird then goes and does the same trick on humans is unnerving. Birds - a lot smarter than we thought.

Molly Cule
163180.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:27 am Reply with quote

In the Fens people used to tie eels skin around their legs. Both men and women made garters from eels. They dried strips of eel skin in the sunshine and greased it with fat, then put the skin in a bag filled with thyme, marsh mint and lavender and buried for the whole of the summer. When the skin was dug out it was re-greased, polished and then tied around legs to ward off the fen ague which was common in those damp parts of the world.
The Book of Eels, Tom Fort

Molly Cule
163181.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:28 am Reply with quote

Eel skin used to be used to make door hinges. It was also used as a sieve for filtering things out of liquids.

According to Alexandre Dumas’s ‘Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine’ the Egyptians ‘placed eels on a par with the gods…. They raised them in aquariums, whose priests were charged with feeding them with cheese and entrails.’
The Book of Eels

Molly Cule
163270.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:27 am Reply with quote

Sigmund Freud was interested in eel’s sexual organs. He worked in Trieste looking cutting up hundreds of eels to find out how their systems worked. He published a thesis called ‘observations of the form and fine structure of the looped organs of the eels considered as testes’ in which he wrote about how he thought he might have found the an immature testicle when looking at all these eels. He concluded that all of his research was a waste of time as he was no nearer to understanding the eels bits than when he first started.

The Book of Eels, Tom Fort p 80

Molly Cule
163272.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:32 am Reply with quote

As Autumn approaches and eels prepare to swim back to the Sargasso Sea of their birth, throughout the waters of the world they change physiologically; their backs turn darker, almost black, their bellies turn silver. They toughen up, storing fat in their muscle. Their eyes expand. Their nostrils dilate. They stop eating and their digestive tracts degenerate. The salt content in their bodies goes down. Their sex organs swell up. Then on a dark and stormy night when the waning moon is in it's last quarter the eels begin their exodus.

The book of eels p 136

Molly Cule
163273.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:34 am Reply with quote

Eels are able to live in salty and fresh water and to survive out of water for some time. Their skin can absorb up to 90% of its oxygen requirement. Their skin is so thick and covered in mucus so it stops osmosis from happening in salty water - other fish like salmon, trout, shad.. can't go in salty water as the salinity invades their bodies and kills them. An eel is perfectly happy in salt and fresh water alike.

Molly Cule
163274.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:37 am Reply with quote

The only record of an eel being found in the Atlantic dates from 1898 when one was found in the stomach of a sperm whale caught near the Azores by the Prince of Monaco.

Fully mature eels are rarely caught at sea; they do not feed so can't be caught on bait and they slip easily through trawler nets.

Molly Cule
163276.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:40 am Reply with quote

Fertilised eel eggs float. They are each held in a minute drop of oil which enables them to rise to the surface. A day or so later, even hours later, they hatch into tiny slips of tissue no longer than the thickness of a fingernail. The tiny eels are see through, you can see very organ and muscle segment and the colour of their blood. Its head is the size of a pinprick and has round black eyes and a pair of jaws.

Molly Cule
163278.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:46 am Reply with quote

The bigger eels grow the more fish they eat, they like perch, rudd, char and other eels.

So, eels are cannibals.

This was shown in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris in the late 1930's. Two biologists put a thousand 8cm long elvers (immature eels) in a tank of water with no shelter. They were fed daily. Even so a year later there were only 71 eels left, now about 25cms long. Two months later there were 12 eels, a month later only one. It was a female and she had eaten one and killed the other of her two final rivals. She weighed 55 grammes at this point and was 32cm long. She was kept and kept growing, she was neglected during the Nazi occupation and died.

163291.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:33 am Reply with quote

Serve her right.

Good stuff, Moll.

163341.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:39 am Reply with quote


163349.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:50 am Reply with quote

Wiki says it's more closely related to the carp.

163352.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:55 am Reply with quote


165987.  Sat Apr 14, 2007 6:44 am Reply with quote

Eel feel helps wave power go with the flow
Leena Patel and her colleagues at the University of Edinburgh in the UK are using a genetic algorithm computer program, which mimics the way natural selection breeds fitter creatures, to improve the way their virtual lamprey swims in different sea conditions. They want to use these swimming motions to boost the efficiency of a novel type of wave-power device - a long, thin, eel-like machine called the Pelamis.

S: NewScientist

181986.  Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:29 am Reply with quote

July 24th is "Eel Day" in Japan. Revellers eat "unadon" -- grilled eel with sauce on rice -- in the belief it helps them survive sweltering temperatures.


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