What is an eelpout you ask? Well, let me tell you. Eelpouts (Zoaricdae) make up a family of bony fish that have one large fin that stretches from the middle of its back all the way around its body to where its belly button might be. Despite their appearance, they are not actually true eels because they lack leptocephalus larvae. However, through convergent evolution, they share many of the same characteristics as true eels – including elongate bodies and the fusion of the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins. In the last two days we have caught four species of eelpouts. Two species (midwater eelpout and bigfin eelpout) were taken in our IKMT, while, interestingly, two were collected from box cores (pallid eelpout and blackbelly eelpout). Going into the trip, I did not expect we’d be collecting fish with the box core, but on a scientific cruise, anything can happen! Eelpouts are among the many strange and interesting organisms that we have collected on this trip.
Other animals collected by the IKMT
Tonight will hopefully be another great night for the Night Team. After a rough first few days, the wicked winch of the starboard side has left (hopefully for good) and the Night Team has all of a sudden become a well-oiled strong-hearted sampling machine. Last evening we carried out 2 IKMTs, 2 MOCNESS tows, and 2 ZOOPS deployments. Productivity was high and spirits were even higher – from the singing angle reader quartet, who sang while reading the angle of the IKMT tow line over the water (their CD will be released when we get back on shore) to squid jigger dancers (even better than Riverdance), I expect tonight to be no less entertaining.
I leave you with another perk of being on the night watch.