By Nicole Horn, Biodiversity Capabilities
In the month of November, we traditionally raise awareness of men’s health issues as part of the Movember campaign and in part 1 of this blog, we looked at a few marine species with ‘moustaches’ for inspiration. In part 2 of the blog, we look at some more animal species beyond our shores with rather interesting facial hair.
White Sea catfish (Galeichthys feliceps)
Named for its pale white belly, the white sea catfish or wit seebaber is scaleless and slimy because of a protective layer of mucus around its body. A common misconception is that the whiskers of catfish are dangerous, but it is the spine on their dorsal fin that is venomous which is what makes them dangerous to humans. This species is a mouth brooder which means the female lays up to 50 eggs and the male carries them in its mouth for up to 4 months. Since he cannot eat during this time, he will lose up to a quarter of his body weight. They have long thin sensory organs called barbels that look like whiskers or a thin moustache which serve as a mechanism to ‘taste’ the chemicals in their surroundings. The white sea catfish relies heavily on these barbels since they live in dark environments. The white sea catfish is considered a pest by fisherman and are unfortunately often killed when caught.
Tasseled wobbegong shark (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon)