Mar 23, 2009

Cheer Up, Son

Anyone know what kind of fish this is? I don't think those spots are its eyes, and I'm pretty sure I've seen something like this at an aquarium, but I can't place it. Whatever it is, I want to throw it a party, give it a gift, tell it a good joke, something to cheer it up.

UPDATE: Anonymous believes this to be the face of an electric eel.

Thanks for the photo, Lee.




















MORE AND MORE UPDATES: The debate over what this creature could be rages on. Another anonymous says it is a Pangasius catfish. Then yet another anonymous berated me for even thinking that it could be an eel (I thought it might be, after looking at some photos, but I'm the least qualified person here to ID anything). Then Vincent came to my defense, saying that it most definitely is an eel. Rasmus, who is a preeminent ichthyologist, says it probably isn't the Pangasius, given its size, and that it most likely is an electric eel. Thank you all for your contributions (even your personal, anonymous attacks).

Perhaps, though, it is Nat Tarbox who gives us the greatest insight. He's found the original photo, which I believe reveals the fish's true identity. Thanks, Nat.

39 comments:

Erin said...

This looks to me like some sort of catfish--perhaps one of the electric species of catfish given the lack of apparent barbels, but I don't know if I can narrow it down more than that. I'm pretty sure the comical eye-like specks are its nostrils.

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

haha it looks so depressed

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_eel

It's an electric eel

Anonymous said...

It's not a electric eel. It is in fact a Pangasius catfish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangasius

Anonymous said...

electric eel? what the hell? People, PLEASE search before you post, especially if you're going to just state that it is what you think it is. There is nothing eel-like about that fish. (shame on you too, wombat, for not looking it up)

Compare with the pic on the post: http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/%7Ebwjones/C1705165967/E20060301171734/Media/Electric%20Eel.jpg
and http://www.virtuescience.com/electric-eel.jpg

Vincent said...

It actually IS an eel. It's not scaled, it has ventral fins, small forward-facing low-set eyes, long thin body. It's an eel. Plus, the other one in the tank seems to be curled up on the bottom in a distinctly eel-like pose. It may not be an electric eel (electric eels tend to be slightly more pitted, and don't generally have the tawny coloration under the chin), but from what we can see in this picture, it's an eel. Sorry to burst Anonymous #2's bubble.

Anonymous said...

I think it has the face of a muppet; probably from watching the trialer for "Where the Wild Things Are" before seing this...

Nat Tarbox said...

Here is a much better version of that photo:

http://www.pixagen.com/storage/b3s/letuglyfishmagicawayyourtears.png

Rasmus said...

The eyes are way too small for a Pangasius. I'm voting for electric eel, fits with the eyes, nostrils and pectoral fins. Looks a bit short, but that's probably just the crazy angle.

Zanna said...

I need that second image as a refrigerator magnet or something.

niner said...

Wow! The comments on the website as a whole have gotten so negative lately, especially from all the anons.

I'm with Wombat; if I don't know something, I *guess* then ask. What's wrong with that?

And shame on you, Wombat, for not finding that original photo sooner! =P Love the My Little Pony-esque ponies (and the fish/eel/mysterious monster).

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks, Niner. Such are my burdens...

Anonymous said...

This is anon #2.

Vincent: First off, I said it wasn't an ELECTRIC eel, not that it wasn't an eel (Although now I WILL say it- It is NOT a true eel. True eels do not have pelvic fins, which this one clearly does. Electric "eels" aren't true eels).

Secondly, if you look at the shadow, it is NOT very long. At most it is some 2-3 times as long as it is tall.

Thirdly, electric eels are slightly dorsoventrally flattened, while the mystery fish is most definitely not that. If anything, it is very slightly flattened laterally.

Fourthly, electric eels have downward-pointing mouths and upward-pointing eyes. Their pectoral fins aren't that big either. The color, shape, and practically everything else is wrong too (including the lack of facial pits).

It is 100% certain that the mystery fish is NOT an electric eel, as should be blatantly obvious to anyone with even the slightest ability to observe anything. It is also 100% certain that it is not a true eel (order Anguilliformes, but that is not nearly as obvious).

So- Vincent, you couldn't be more wrong.

booge said...

Why you gotta be like that, Anonymous 2? This ain't a pissing match. It's a fish. Shit ain't cool.

Anonymous said...

Today I am ashamed to be an Anonymous. (weeps)

Anonymous said...

Electric eels aren't eels at all, they're knifefish.

Anonymous said...

(Anon #3 here... and above. I typed the wrong number in my previous post)

I gotta be like that because

1)I'm tired of people who make claims about things they know nothing about (see anonymous #1, who AFFIRMED that it was an electric eel as if it were an absolute fact)

2) It SHOULD be blatantly obvious to anyone who would do a simple google image search for "electric eel" that the mystery fish looks nothing like an electric eel. It's not even hard. It took me literally less than 8 seconds (I timed myself) to do this. And if you're running a blog about organisms, the least you can do is see if the the ID is right instead of just parroting what any anonymous person states. I just want some quality control.

3) Vincent was just begging for it by doing 1 and 2, especially after I posted links to photos of an electric eel relatively head-on.

4) I've had a bad day, and it really pisses me off when people get wrong things which are SO incredibly EASY to not get wrong. It is harder to make a (stupid) comment here than it is to see why the comment is stupid.

Anonymous said...

Again, anon #3.

Oh, and if Rasmus is an ichthyologist, then I'm a quantum physicist pink unicorn living on the moon of jupiter, IO.

I'm starting to think that it IS a Pangasius sp. I was looking at pictures, and I made a hypothesis that the eye(s) SHOULD be visible on the photo. I looked closer, and you can actually see the the left eye on the right side of the picture, just above the small portion of the pelvic fin which is visible. The head looks too lumpy, but I'm sure there are more species than the ones I've seen in google images.

(btw, I'm not saying that it IS a Pangasius sp., because unlike some people I am aware that I do not know everything)

Raging Wombat said...

You must have had a bad day indeed, anonymous #3, to get so upset about the ID of an ugly fish. Such a bad day that you don't see the irony in your lashing out against people who post anonymous comments and against those who are too certain in their claims. I hope your day gets better. You sound like you know (or at least believe in) what you're talking about. Glad to have you. But I think the debate now centers around your tone, and not your expertise. Seems to me that if you wanted to be understood, you should ratchet down the rant.

In the end, though, I'm placing my bet on the magic fish who will magic away my tears. I need that kind of fish in my life. I think you do, too.

Lee said...

FINALLY IT HAS BEEN SOLVED. SOLVEDSOLVEDSOVLEOFLSOFDKgjlkgklfjh

Anonymous said...

Anon 3

Wombat- I didn't lash out against people who post anonymous comments. I also didn't lash out against those who are too certain in their claims per se- I'm perfectly comfortable with knowledgeable people speaking about what they are knowledgeable about and being confident about it- only against those who clearly don't know what they're talking about yet act as if they do. You talk about irony as if I were doing that. Please tell me when I did anything similar to posting "This is the answer, period", because I don't remember doing it. At least not unless warranted. True eels do not have pectoral fins, this one does, therefore this is not a true eel. It's a sound logical argument in which both premises are true, and therefore the conclusion HAS to be true.

Anyway, I specifically said I didn't know what the fish was, and I give numerous and specific reasons for what I DID say I thought. There is a huge difference in what I am criticizing others of doing and what I have done.

I don't particularly care to be understood by everyone. If people are too dumb to look at the specific points I brought up and instead choose to do a private ad hominem to dismiss everything I've said, then let them. Nobody can possibly teach them how to think in the comment thread of a blog. I'm sure there are at least some smart people out there who are able to look past the delivery and to the point.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is wrong wrong wrong. This is obviously a rare Eyore Eel. If we could see a back view, it would be even more obvious because its anal fin would be tied on with a bow.

Oh bother.

Anonymous #4 (or #5, I can't keep track)

Sherry at SofN

Raging Wombat said...

Anon # 3: Still more irony in that you accuse others of ad hominem attacks, and then dismiss as stupid those who disagree with you...but anyway, the title of this post was Cheer Up, Man. So, shhh, shhh, just let it go, relax. That's right, shhh...there you go. Let Ugly Fish magic away your tears.

Vincent said...

This is getting genuinely fun! Who would've thought that a uniquely ugly fish would make strangers yell at each other! Speaking as a certified ichthyologist, by which I actually mean, "certified guy with an internet connection", I agree that it is simply a magical ugly fish. I recommend we all hug it out.

Anonymous said...

The Anonymous above must be this guy:
http://xkcd.com/386/

Anonymous said...

Anon #3.

Wombat: Sigh. just look up "ad hominem". (Here, I'll even link you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem) Pointing out that people are stupid, lazy, or what have you is not a logical fallacy. What is a logical fallacy is what you described above, dismissing an argument BECAUSE of some trait possessed by the person making an argument. I am doing just the opposite- dismissing an argument because it is wrong (and giving specific reasons for this), and THEN using that to justify me saying whatever it is I say about the arguments the person made. Note how I worded that- I said things about the ARGUMENTS the person made. I never made any claim about the people whom I was referring to (personality, physical traits, their mothers', etc), I only described what they were doing.

Last anonymous- You're absolutely right. Ha ha ha.

Raging Wombat said...

Fair enough! Can we all agree that maybe it is or isn't an eel or a catfish?

Vanessa said...

Whatever he is, he is freakin' adorable!
The second picture, with his lovely wizard hat, is now my desktop.
Thank you Raging Wombat for digging this guy up - he's a treat.

:D

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks to Lee.

LibrarianJessica said...

Wombat, you could start requiring a two drink minimum for the comments. This stuff's hilarious.

Personally, I agree with the rare Eeyore Eel classification.

boogle said...

Ooh, I know! It's an Electric Boogaloo.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086999/.

I guess I'm not the only one on her period today. Midol, all around!

Anonymous said...

Well, this line of comments must be cooling down because nobody jumped on me for spelling Eeyore wrong. :) Anyway, yes. I'm happy to agree that this is or is not an eel or a catfish and that it certainly is not a snow leopard.

HOWEVER I think we can all agree that it is magic. : )

Anonymous 4 of the Anonymi... or something...

Sherry at SofN

Anonymous said...

Okay. I can't sleep. When I can't sleep, strange things happen. For example:

Here is a song for our dear ugly fish (think Donny and Marie):

I'm a little bit catfish.
I'm a little bit electric eel.
I'd taste good with lashings of butter.
If you don't mind static shockwaves with your meal.
Don't care what you call me man
My magic powers are real!
I'm a little bit catfish
And a little bit electric eel!

Sherry at Sofn

Anonymous said...

Still can't sleep.

Okay. I was looking at this picture and the white and green background looks like it is made out of cloth... and the gray underside of the fish almost looks furry... could this be some kind of mad puppet show?!?!?!?

Sherry of SofN... must stop staring at ugly fish.

Raging Wombat said...

Love the song, Sherry!

morgan said...

Whoa! I leave for a little bit and look at all I miss. In any case, let's get back to the fish. It's not an electric eel (as already stated, it's too vertically thick). Those are nares above the mouth there, not his eyes. You can only barely see his left eye on the right there... look just below the fin that's sticking out. See it? Now look at this picture of a giant catfish. http://www.photozoo.org/d/26989-4/Pangasius+sanitwongsei+1.JPG

Now electric eels, being electric and all, have electric organs on their head which are quite noticeable in a headshot: http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjones/C1705165967/E20060301171734/Media/Electric%20Eel.jpg
[Just wrote a paper on these guys]

Now look at the picture in the post again... awfully smooth, eh? He would have to be a very fat, humpbacked, non-electric electric eel, indeed.

I'd stake my reputation on it being a catfish and not an electric eel (get back to me when I have a reputation to stake...)

See? This game can be played without attacking anyone!

Raging Wombat said...

You're right, Morgan. That's how you do it. No one's going to get their hackles raised by your analysis. (or by an electric discharge, so it would seem).

JC said...

It looks very similar to a large Iridescent Catfish. Whatever it is, I certainly agree that it is a catfish.

JC said...

Oops. I meant Iridescent Shark. Sutchi Catfish.