Friday, March 28, 2014

Antarctic Toothfish

Dissostichus mawsoni
Today's animal is a pretty cool creature-- it is one of the top predators in Antarctica's Ross Sea, dominating over other species of fish that barely reach 1/3 its size!

The Antarctic Toothfish can grow up to 2m long, making it a giant in cold waters where the fish tend to stay half a meter or less. They are also important because they serve as prey to the large Mammals that feed in those waters-- one group of Orcas actually feeds almost exclusively on them!

The life habits of the Antartic Toothfish haven't been extensively studied, but we do know that they can live as long as 50 years, and don't reach maturity until 16 or 17. Scientists believe that they migrate in order to breed, but that hypothesis hasn't been confirmed because no eggs have ever been found!

Another weird fact is that these fish are able to produce proteins in their body that act like anti-freeze. Those proteins are incredibly efficient at keeping the Toothfish's blood from crystallizing!

IUCN Status : Not Evaluated
Location : Antarctica
Size : Length up to 6.6ft (2m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Perciformes
Family : Nototheniidae -- Genus : Dissostichus -- Species : D. mawsoni
Image :  Last Ocean

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