Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wendell Catches A Fish

A Weddell seal has adopted the dive hole beneath our lab hut. Cass calls him Wendell.

When everyone was away picking up the last three birds, Wendell made some odd vocalizations and there was a tremendous amount of thrashing in the water. When I looked down, he had brought up this huge, headless body of a Dissostichus mawsoni, or Antarctic Toothfish.

Here's Wendell with his fish.

Wendell must have caught and beheaded the fish below the ice, hence the thrashing that I heard. Wendell was justifiably proud of his fish. (I suspect that most human fishermen would be, too.) It was one of the largest Mawsoni I had ever seen. Paul and Cory dragged the body out of the water to look at it while Wendell was away.

Mawsoni are interesting fish. They possess a type of "antifreeze" in their blood that prevents their blood from freezing. (Remember that the sea ice is about -2 C, or below the freezing point of water.)

Wendell took his fish away by the next morning. I assume that he ate it.