Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brittlestar city

Amazing pictures and a video from the Census of Marine Life showing millions of brittlestars catching passing food in a fast current of the southern coast of New Zealand. Dubbed "Brittlestar City", its cramped inhabitants, tens of millions living arm tip to arm tip, owe their success to the seamount's shape and to the swirling circumpolar current flowing over and around it at roughly four kilometers per hour. The current allows the mass of brittlestars to capture passing food simply by raising their arms, and it sweeps away fish and other hovering would-be predators. Don't watch the video if you are prone to motion sickness, or have been drinking. If you are prone to motion sickness and have been drinking you REALLY shouldn't watch the video. Otherwise enjoy. There is so much we don't know still to be discovered, it would be a shame to lose it before we even got to see it.

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