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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish

Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid

Not much is known about the mysterious giant squid, a creature that was first captured on film in 2005. Now, researchers have decoded the giant cephalopod’s genome, hoping to unlock more secrets about the legendary squid.

The research, published in Giga Science, notes the giant squid has an enormous genome, with an estimated 2.7 billion DNA base pairs. By comparison, humans have 3 billion DNA base pairs. Caroline Albertin, one of the study’s co-authors, found that the Hox and Wnt developmental genes seen in almost all animals are also present in the giant squid genome, meaning its massive size was not caused by whole-genome duplication.

“In terms of their genes, we found the giant squid looks a lot like other animals,” Albertin said in a statement. “This means we can study these truly bizarre animals to learn more about ourselves.”

Westlake Legal Group giant-squid-1 Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/natural-science/genetics fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc fd6c1457-c439-52c1-a1fc-bd8da6bb2214 Chris Ciaccia article

In a rare event, a live giant squid (Architeuthis dux) is hauled to the surface on a baited hook in Japan. The giant squid can be 40 feet long tip-to-tail and weigh nearly a ton. (Credit: Tsunemi Kubodera)

CREEPY PHOTOS SHOWS GIANT SQUID ‘WATCHING’ DEEP SEA MISSION

The researcher also discovered more than 100 genes in the protocadherin family “typically not found in abundance in invertebrates” that were seen in the giant squid genome.

“Protocadherins are thought to be important in wiring up a complicated brain correctly,” she added. “They were thought to be a vertebrate innovation, so we were really surprised when we found more than 100 of them in the octopus genome (in 2015). That seemed like a smoking gun to how you make a complicated brain. And we have found a similar expansion of protocadherins in the giant squid, as well.”

In 2015, Albertin led a team that sequenced the first genome of a cephalopod.

As such, there’s still more work to be done to understand just how the giant squid became so massive, Albertin added.

“A genome is a first step for answering a lot of questions about the biology of these very weird animals,” Albertin pointed out, including features such as the largest brain among the invertebrates, their behaviors and the ability to instantly camouflage themselves.

Westlake Legal Group giant-squid-2 Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/natural-science/genetics fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc fd6c1457-c439-52c1-a1fc-bd8da6bb2214 Chris Ciaccia article

The giant squid has long been a subject of horror lore. In this original illustration from Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” a giant squid grasps a helpless sailor. (Credit: Alphonse de Neuville)

Albertin also said that cephalopods are believed to have evolved independently of vertebrates, despite having a lot of complex and elaborate features. “By comparing their genomes we can ask, ‘Are cephalopods and vertebrates built the same way or are they built differently?'”

“Having this giant squid genome is an important node in helping us understand what makes a cephalopod a cephalopod,” she concluded. “And it also can help us understand how new and novel genes arise in evolution and development.”

The largest giant squid ever recorded was nearly 43 feet long and likely weighed almost 2,000 pounds, according to the Smithsonian.

In June 2019, NOAA spotted a giant squid in U.S. waters for the first time as part of rare footage that biologists have described as “the most amazing video you’ve ever seen.” The giant cephalopod was spotted around 100 miles southeast of New OrleansLa.

HUMAN-SIZE BLOB DRIFTS BY DIVERS. AND IT’S PACKED WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BABY SQUID.

Fairly elusive, the giant squid has been linked to myth since ancient times. The Charlotte Observer, citing data from The National Museum of Natural History, noted ancient sailors mistakenly believed giant squids were mermaids and other mythical creatures.

“For a long time, people saw mysterious movements in the water or found dead giant squid and didn’t know what they were — and even confused a giant squid carcass with a merman or mermaid,” the museum wrote on its website.

In August 2018, a 14-foot squid washed up on the shores of Wellington, New Zealand, prompting images of the colossal cephalopod to go viral.

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Westlake Legal Group giant-squid-1 Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/natural-science/genetics fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc fd6c1457-c439-52c1-a1fc-bd8da6bb2214 Chris Ciaccia article   Westlake Legal Group giant-squid-1 Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/natural-science/genetics fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc fd6c1457-c439-52c1-a1fc-bd8da6bb2214 Chris Ciaccia article

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Ultra-rare albino lobster goes on display after being caught off England’s coast

A very rare albino lobster is on display after being caught off the coast of Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.

The white crustacean was captured by a very surprised fisherman earlier this month, news agency SWNS reports.

A conservation officer for the North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) told SWNS that he’s “never seen anything like it.”

He explained: “Albino lobsters are incredibly rare — I’ve never seen one.”

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Westlake Legal Group lobster-swns Ultra-rare albino lobster goes on display after being caught off England's coast fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 1aaec993-ffe6-5651-abb3-6c1a0f560f10

An ultra-rare albino lobster has gone on display after being caught off the Yorkshire coast. (Image via SWNS)

NASA REVEALS GALACTIC ‘FIREWORKS’ IN STUNNING NEW IMAGE

The fisherman reportedly wanted the rare specimen to go somewhere it could be enjoyed by the general public.

“It was good of him to do that because it’s well known they can be sold for good money,” the conservation officer told SWNS.

Albino lobsters are the consequence of a genetic condition called leucism, which leaves them with no pigment in their shells.

The lobster is currently on display inside a tank at a National Trust visitor center near Whitby, in North Yorkshire.

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Westlake Legal Group lobster-swns Ultra-rare albino lobster goes on display after being caught off England's coast fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 1aaec993-ffe6-5651-abb3-6c1a0f560f10   Westlake Legal Group lobster-swns Ultra-rare albino lobster goes on display after being caught off England's coast fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 1aaec993-ffe6-5651-abb3-6c1a0f560f10

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Unusual fish can create entirely new species when it has sex

An unusual type of fish has the ability to produce entirely new species when it mates.

Cichlids, a colorful fish typically found in the freshwater lakes of Africa, can sometimes have sex with the wrong partner.

According to a new 10-year study on two African freshwater lakes published in Nature Communications, the females accidentally could introduce new genes into their population.

“This could have been because when the lake formed, the water was very cloudy and they couldn’t see colors properly so the females were not being as choosy about selecting a mate in their new environment,” evolutionary biologist Joana Meier, from the University of Cambridge, said in a statement.

Westlake Legal Group fish-image Unusual fish can create entirely new species when it has sex fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone ca17b4fe-8fd6-543f-9f7b-46092b5d64e4 article

A tank full of African cichlids at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, Oklahoma. (Flickr/OakleyOriginals)

The scientists, led by Meier, said they discovered more than 40 new cichlid species over the course of the study in Lake Mweru, on the longest arm of the Congo River.

“Mating between cichlids from different drainage systems produced very diverse offspring combining the genetic traits of both parental species,” she added.

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Cichlids have been very diverse, including more than 1,300 known species, Newsweek reported.

“We found a dazzling variety of ecologically diverse new species — called radiations — that were previously unknown,” Meier explained.

Westlake Legal Group fish-image Unusual fish can create entirely new species when it has sex fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone ca17b4fe-8fd6-543f-9f7b-46092b5d64e4 article   Westlake Legal Group fish-image Unusual fish can create entirely new species when it has sex fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone ca17b4fe-8fd6-543f-9f7b-46092b5d64e4 article

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Blue whale has heartbeat measured for the first time, and results surprise scientists

Blue whales, which are the largest animals known to have ever existed, experience their hearts skip a beat when they grab a snack.

A team of marine biologists has recorded a blue whale’s heartbeat for the first time ever off the California coast by attaching a suction cup to the back of the giant sea mammal.

According to Live Science, they then observed the blue whale for 9 hours as it continuously dove down and resurfaced, and scientists were surprised at what they found.

The whale’s heart rate reportedly jumped to as many as 34 beats per minute at the surface and dropped back down in the ocean’s depths.

In the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers said the act of catching a bite to eat might even push a blue whale’s heart to its physical limits.

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Westlake Legal Group blue-whale-getty-images Blue whale has heartbeat measured for the first time, and results surprise scientists fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/science fnc e14a4960-df43-5758-86f5-e847d58e68f0 Christopher Carbone article

Blue whales are the largest animals on Earth. (QAI Publishing/Universal Images Group via Getty Images))

WAS SAME-SEX BEHAVIOR IN ANIMALS HARDWIRED FROM THE BEGINNING?

“Animals that are operating at physiological extremes can help us understand biological limits to size,” lead study author Jeremy Goldbogen, an assistant professor at Stanford University in California, said in a statement.

Blue whales are up to 98 feet long and have a maximum weight of 173 metric tons, or about 381,400 pounds.

The scientists believe their findings could explain why no animal has ever been bigger than a blue whale, due to the huge energy demands of a larger body outpacing what its heart can handle.

Next, they want to try their suction cup on other types of whales.

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“A lot of what we do involves new technology and a lot of it relies on new ideas, new methods and new approaches,” said David Cade, a co-author of the study who placed the tag on the blue whale. “We’re always looking to push the boundaries of how we can learn about these animals.”

Westlake Legal Group blue-whale-getty-images Blue whale has heartbeat measured for the first time, and results surprise scientists fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/science fnc e14a4960-df43-5758-86f5-e847d58e68f0 Christopher Carbone article   Westlake Legal Group blue-whale-getty-images Blue whale has heartbeat measured for the first time, and results surprise scientists fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/science fnc e14a4960-df43-5758-86f5-e847d58e68f0 Christopher Carbone article

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Piranha teeth stun researchers after amazing discovery

Piranhas are notorious for their razor-sharp teeth, but a new study of the dangerous fish has surprised researchers, revealing just how remarkable their teeth actually are.

The research notes that the fearsome fish, which are omnivores, are able to regenerate rows of teeth simultaneously. The teeth are also interlocked, which makes them act as a single unit, researchers discovered.

“The teeth form a solid battery that is locked together, and they are all lost at once on one side of the face,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Adam Summers, in a statement. “The new teeth wear the old ones as ‘hats’ until they are ready to erupt. So, piranhas are never toothless even though they are constantly replacing dull teeth with brand new sharp ones.”

Westlake Legal Group piranha-teeth-1 Piranha teeth stun researchers after amazing discovery fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc f2077235-d35d-58b0-aaed-175f919ce18f Chris Ciaccia article

1 / 1A CT-scanned image of the piranha Serrasalmus medinai. Note the ingested fish fins in its stomach. (University of Washington)

FLESH-EATING PIRANHA-LIKE FISH’S 150-MILLION-YEAR-OLD REMAINS DISCOVERED IN GERMANY

“I think in a sense we found a solution to a problem that’s obvious, but no one had articulated before,” Summers added, referring to the issue of how piranahas regenerate teeth.

Piranhas regenerate their teeth multiple times throughout their lives.

The researchers used a CT to scan different piranhas to make the observation that it becomes hard to replace a single tooth, a discovery that the study’s lead author, Matthew Kolmann, likened to “a missing link in an assembly line.”

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Westlake Legal Group piranha-teeth-2 Piranha teeth stun researchers after amazing discovery fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc f2077235-d35d-58b0-aaed-175f919ce18f Chris Ciaccia article

A CT-scanned image of the piranha Serrasalmus medinai. Note the ingested fish fins in its stomach. Credit: University of Washington

“With interlocking teeth, the fish go from having one sharp tooth that can crack a nut or cut through flesh to a whole battery of teeth,” said another co-author, Karly Cohen, in the statement. “Among piranhas and pacus there’s a lot of diversity in how the teeth lock together, and it seems to relate to how the teeth are being used.”

The study has been published in the scientific journal Evolution & Development.

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Westlake Legal Group piranha-teeth-1 Piranha teeth stun researchers after amazing discovery fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc f2077235-d35d-58b0-aaed-175f919ce18f Chris Ciaccia article   Westlake Legal Group piranha-teeth-1 Piranha teeth stun researchers after amazing discovery fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc f2077235-d35d-58b0-aaed-175f919ce18f Chris Ciaccia article

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The voracious and invasive lionfish is taking over the Atlantic. Here’s why.

One of the most notorious invasive species around, the lionfish, is known for its voracious appetite and can literally eat its competitors out of an ecosystem. And that’s what the striking fish is doing, feasting its way through waters that stretch from the Gulf of Mexico to the Eastern Seaboard.

Now, scientists and startups are crafting methods for capturing and killing the hungry invaders. But while these new ideas show promise, tried-and-true spearfishing seems to be the most effective way to eradicate lionfish, scientists told Live Science.

“It’s actually hard to describe how a lionfish eats because they do it in a split second,” said Kristen Dahl, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Florida. Lionfish use a complex series of tactics that no other fish in the world is known to employ. In the blink of an eye, a lionfish goes from silently hovering above its prey to flaring its fins, firing a disorienting jet of water from its mouth, unhinging its jaw and swallowing its meal whole, scientists reported in a study published in 2012 in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series. The attacks happen so quickly that nearby fish don’t seem to notice.

“It’s actually nice when I’m looking at gut contents,” Dahl said, “because if something has been freshly eaten, it’s in immaculate condition.”

New fish on the block

Lionfish (Pterois volitans) are one of the most notorious invasive species in the United States. Their bold colors and frilly fins make lionfish popular in the aquarium trade; over the past 25 years or so, it seems aquarium fish owners have sometimes dumped unwanted lionfish — which are native to the Indo-Pacific region — into the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Their popularity in the aquarium trade has also spurred several breeding programs.

Lionfish are fast and powerful, but their biggest advantage is novelty. Atlantic prey fish simply don’t know what’s going on. Biologists call this phenomenon prey naivete, and they believe it is largely responsible for the lionfish’s dramatic success as an invader.

Since the first breeding populations were spotted off the coast of North Carolina in 2000, lionfish have rapidly overtaken coastal environments in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

“Sightings increased rapidly in 2004 along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States,” according to Pam Schofield, research fishery biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Lionfish sightings quickly spread throughout the Caribbean and then the Gulf of Mexico,” Schofield, who tracks non-native marine fish in U.S. waters, told Live Science. There are now breeding populations in the coastal waters of Venezuela, throughout the coastal Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. On the Eastern Seaboard, breeding populations extend into North Carolina, and stray individuals are seen as far north as Massachusetts, Schofield said. Reports of lionfish sightings have tapered off since their peak in 2010, but that’s probably not because their populations have decreased — lionfish are so pervasive that spotting one is no longer noteworthy.

Managing an invasion

Lionfish aren’t easily caught when traditional fishing techniques are used, so a number of research groups and startup companies are developing novel tools for managing the invasion. These include specially designed traps that lure in lionfish while sparing native species, remotely operated vehicles that allow a human pilot to remotely spear lionfish and autonomous hunting vehicles that use artificial intelligence to find the fish themselves. While some progress has been made in new technologies, spear guns used by scuba divers still seem to be the tool that’s most effective tool at killing them, Dahl said.

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a leader in lionfish management, has a number of incentive programs to entice recreational and commercial scuba divers to harvest lionfish, according to the FWC. The lionfish derby is one of the most successful management tools being used today. At a derby, spearfishing divers spend a day working together to remove as many lionfish as they can. At the larger derbies, organizers award prizes to the teams or individuals who catch the biggest, smallest or most lionfish. “The derbies are a good opportunity to educate people about the lionfish and about the danger of releasing aquarium fish into the wild,” Dahl said. She’s worked and volunteered at dozens of derbies. “If enough people learn about this invasion, maybe there won’t be another ‘lionfish.'”

Culling lionfish one by one will never eliminate the species from the Atlantic, but it can help mitigate their effects. While a single lionfish can eat a lot of native fauna, lionfish wreak havoc on a reef only after their populations reach a certain density, researchers reported in 2014 in the journal Ecological Applications. And the incentives seem to be working. At a handful of popular dive sites in the Florida Keys, recreational divers are so diligent in culling invasive lionfish that it is unusual to see a single one, according to several dive tour operators.

Scientists knew from the start that population growth would eventually taper off as lionfish populations reach the point at which there’s no more food or habitat to support additional individuals. But the number of lionfish in parts of the Gulf of Mexico where Dahl and her colleagues have tracked their populations for several years have actually declined. It’s too early to say what’s behind the change, but Dahl points to a poorly understood parasitic skin lesion that “has put a dent in their population.”

Now, less than two decades since the invasion began, ecologists are still trying to learn enough about lionfish to manage the new invasion.


”We’re not sure if [the population decline] is going to last or if it’s a boom-bust population cycle,” Dahl said. “It could be a little bit of both. We aren’t really sure.”

Originally published on Live Science

Westlake Legal Group lionfish-shutterstock The voracious and invasive lionfish is taking over the Atlantic. Here's why. LiveScience Grant Currin fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fnc/science fnc cbe02811-3939-50e0-9e8b-15d6ef3eb2ed article   Westlake Legal Group lionfish-shutterstock The voracious and invasive lionfish is taking over the Atlantic. Here's why. LiveScience Grant Currin fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fnc/science fnc cbe02811-3939-50e0-9e8b-15d6ef3eb2ed article

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Scientists monitoring marine heat wave off West Coast which could disrupt ecosystem

Westlake Legal Group salmon-ocean- Scientists monitoring marine heat wave off West Coast which could disrupt ecosystem Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/us/environment/water fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/planet-earth/water fox-news/science/planet-earth/oceans fox news fnc/science fnc article 54204d59-0316-5f7c-b5b0-3072996d5316

Government scientists said Thursday they are monitoring a new ocean heat wave off the West Coast which could badly disrupt marine life.

Five years ago, an expansion of warm ocean water nicknamed “the Blob” by scientists disrupted the marine ecosystem off the West Coast. Now, a similar expanse of abnormally warm water positioned in the same area has threatened to do the same.

The 2014 heat wave saw temperatures spike seven degrees Fahrenheit above average. It led to poor returns on young salmon, more humpback whales becoming entangled in fishing gear as they swam closer to shore, the stranding of young sea lions on the California coast, and an algal bloom that shut down crabbing and clamming in the Pacific Ocean.

RARE, TWO-HEADED RATTLESNAKE FOUND IN NEW JERSEY ‘PROBABLY WOULDN’T SURVIVE IN THE WILD’

This 2019 heat wave has already seen temperatures rise five degrees above normal.

“It’s on a trajectory to be as strong as the prior event,” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research scientist Andrew Leising, who has developed a system for tracking and measuring heat waves.

FARMERS CONCERNED OVER HOW MANDATORY WATER CUTS FROM COLORADO RIVER WILL IMPACT AGRICULTURE

The warm expanse stretching from Alaska to California is the second most expansive marine heat wave in the last 40 years. Cold water welling up from the depths of the ocean has helped to hold off the warm expanse. But, due to forecasted coastal winds, the upwelling is likely to subdue in the autumn, allowing the heat wave to settle in. It could even move onshore and affect coastal areas, which appears to have already happened along the coast of Washington, according to NOAA.

NOAA fisheries are monitoring on the heat wave, named the “Northeast Pacific Marine Heat wave of 2019,” with the goal of informing managers how the unusually warm conditions could affect their stocks.

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A marine heat wave is not necessarily a direct result of climate change. The causes could include a persistent low-pressure weather pattern that weakens the winds that otherwise mix and cool surface waters, according to NOAA research scientist Nathan Mantua. It’s unclear what’s causing the low-pressure pattern; it could be the earth’s disorderly motion or it could be related to ocean warming or other effects of human-made climate change, Mantua said.

It’s unclear whether this new heat wave will stick around long enough to cause major damage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group salmon-ocean- Scientists monitoring marine heat wave off West Coast which could disrupt ecosystem Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/us/environment/water fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/planet-earth/water fox-news/science/planet-earth/oceans fox news fnc/science fnc article 54204d59-0316-5f7c-b5b0-3072996d5316   Westlake Legal Group salmon-ocean- Scientists monitoring marine heat wave off West Coast which could disrupt ecosystem Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/us/environment/water fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/planet-earth/water fox-news/science/planet-earth/oceans fox news fnc/science fnc article 54204d59-0316-5f7c-b5b0-3072996d5316

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Hammerhead shark snatches catch from Florida fisherman’s hands, video shows

A Florida fisherman recorded video of his intense tug-of-war encounter with a huge hammerhead shark determined to steal his catch last week.

Rob Gorta, a fishing guide in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area for over 22 years, reeled in a tarpon that appeared to have bloody bite marks on its side.

With blood in the water, a hammerhead soon charged after the fish – and clearly didn’t plan on leaving emptyhanded.

CURIOUS ORCA SURPRISES FISHERMEN, SWIMS ALONGSIDE BOAT IN AMAZING VIDEO: ‘AWESOME DAY ON THE WATER’

“He just took it out of my hand!” Gorta could be heard yelling when the shark ripped the hooked fish from his grasp, in a video posted to his YouTube account.

Gorta and the shark battled in the waters off Anna Maria Island for the fish’s fate over the course of the 3-minute video. But, in the end, the hammerhead claimed its meal.

Westlake Legal Group Hammerhead-Shark-iStock Hammerhead shark snatches catch from Florida fisherman's hands, video shows Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/sharks fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/great-outdoors/fishing fox news fnc/great-outdoors fnc article 5101acc8-bdfc-5ac1-a311-92cf08816b67

A hammerhead, like the one pictured above, ripped a tarpon out of the hands of a fisherman. (iStock, File)

The charter captain told WFTS-TV that he desperately tried to unhook the tarpon to give the fish a chance to escape the shark. He estimated the predator measured 14 feet long and weighed over 1,000 pounds, according to WFLA-TV.

“I really felt bad for the fish, you know. They are an amazing fish, and I make a good living off of them,” Gorta told WFTS. “They are a lot of fun, and I have the utmost respect for them. There’s nothing I could really do to save that fish.”

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Gorta wrote he couldn’t take the fish aboard his boat because Florida laws prevented lifting tarpon out of the water. He added that it would have been dangerous to bring the 180-pound fish aboard a 22-foot bay boat.

It’s illegal to lift tarpon over 40 inches in length out of the water, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee has said. In 2013, the committee made tarpon catch-and-release only.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6074189373001_6074186317001-vs Hammerhead shark snatches catch from Florida fisherman's hands, video shows Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/sharks fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/great-outdoors/fishing fox news fnc/great-outdoors fnc article 5101acc8-bdfc-5ac1-a311-92cf08816b67   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6074189373001_6074186317001-vs Hammerhead shark snatches catch from Florida fisherman's hands, video shows Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/sharks fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/great-outdoors/fishing fox news fnc/great-outdoors fnc article 5101acc8-bdfc-5ac1-a311-92cf08816b67

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Giant whale shark lets Florida fisherman hitch a ride in amazing video

Westlake Legal Group whale20shark20iStock Giant whale shark lets Florida fisherman hitch a ride in amazing video Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/sharks fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc article 6d344e5d-a411-519d-81cd-115d68b20742

Florida fishermen captured amazing video of their swim with a 30-foot whale shark off the coast of Tampa Bay over the weekend.

Captain Robert Holzinger told FOX13 Tampa he was spearfishing with a friend 30 miles out when they spotted the whale shark. The friends jumped in the water, which was about 80 feet deep, to record the “gentle giant.” Holzinger said they spent about an hour swimming with it.

GREAT WHITE SHARK STUNS FISHERMAN DURING REAL LIFE ‘JAWS’ MOMENT

The shark was estimated to be 20 feet long but Holzinger later told FOX4 the beast was 30 feet. He said the shark was friendly and allowed him to pet it.

Holzinger wrote on Facebook that he hoped that there would also be cobia – a scavenger fish that follows larger animals – but there weren’t any.

“When we realized there wasn’t we decided to swim and hang out with him for a while,” he told FOX13 Tampa. “It was truly a gift to be able to see and experience something like that.”

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The endangered whale shark is the largest type of shark – and largest of all fishes – and can be found in tropical waters, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They can weigh as much as 11 tons and stretch as long as 40 feet long.

The filter feeders typically eat plankton and are described as “gentle giants” that “sometimes allow swimmers to hitch a ride,” according to National Geographic.

Westlake Legal Group whale20shark20iStock Giant whale shark lets Florida fisherman hitch a ride in amazing video Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/sharks fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc article 6d344e5d-a411-519d-81cd-115d68b20742   Westlake Legal Group whale20shark20iStock Giant whale shark lets Florida fisherman hitch a ride in amazing video Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/science/wild-nature/sharks fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox news fnc/science fnc article 6d344e5d-a411-519d-81cd-115d68b20742

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Bizarre clam eats rocks for breakfast

Rocks might not sound like a delectable meal to most life-forms, but it’s on the menu for a newly identified species of a plump, bizarre-looking clam.

However, though this clam consumes limestone, its discoverers aren’t sure if the creature snags any actual food from those rocks. For instance, do the bacteria in the clam’s gut help to break down the rock and release nutrients?

“We want to look at the symbionts, the bacteria that live inside these animals, to see if they are providing any nutrition, and this is an area of research we are currently focusing on,” said study lead researcher Reuben Shipway, a postdoctoral researcher at the Marine Science Center at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. [In Photos: Spooky Deep-Sea Creatures]

The newfound clam is a type of shipworm, the name for a group of clams so called because they devour wood, especially from ships. Wood is hard to eat, but adaptations help these clams burrow into the material; those adaptations include “small rows of small, sharp teeth on the shell and a special organ for wood storage and digestion, called the caecum,” Shipway told Live Science.

Every known shipworm eats wood, so Shipway and his colleagues were surprised when Philippine locals in Bohol province told them in 2018 about a freshwater shipworm that ate rocks. Locally, it’s known as “antingaw,” and young mothers eat it because they think it will help them lactate, he said. (The newfound species was noted in a recent expedition led by French biologist Philippe Bouchet at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, but it was the locals who helped the new team locate the mysterious shipworm, the researchers said.)

Unlike other shipworms, the newly named Lithoredo abatanica (which roughly means “rock shipworm from the Abatan River”) has lost all its wood-boring adaptations, including the caecum, Shipway said. Rather, this clam’s “shell has these really large, shovel-like projections for digging into rock,” he said.

The creature’s shell crunches the rock, which the animal then eats, digests and expels as a fine sand. “There are a small number of animals that do ingest rock — for example, birds use gizzard stones to aid digestion,” Shipway said. “But Lithoredo abatanica is the only known animal that eats rock through burrowing.”

He described the rock-eating clams as “pretty bizarre — they are plump, translucent, worm-like clams.” Most of the specimens the researchers collected were 4 inches (10 centimeters) long, but a few individuals were much larger.

“When I was diving in the river, I saw burrows that were over 2 feet [60 cm] in length!” Shipway said. “So, there may be some absolute monsters living deep in the rock.”

By eating rock, L. abatanica is literally changing the course of the river, Shipway added. “These burrows also provide habitat for countless other species living in the river, including crabs and fish,” he said. “This is a very rare, yet very important process in freshwater environments.”

The study was published online today (June 19) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Originally published on Live Science.

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