Writers and artists often use images of large bodies of water to symbolize the unknown. One look at nature photographer Jorge Cervera Hauser’s photography, though, and it seems that the ocean and its inhabitants are something Hauser knows incredibly well:
Like starling murmurations, schooling fish are one of the world’s most wondrous natural phenomena. Not to be confused with shoaling fish (which refers to fish who gather to swim together socially), schooling fish are defined as a large group of fish that swim synchronously.
Swimming in a school allows fish to protect themselves from predators, improve foraging, and swim more efficiently. While scientists are still working to better understand fish schooling, experiments over the past few decades have provided much information about how (and why) fishes form schools.
For one, schooling is most likely a genetic behavior. In fact, a combination of behavioral traits and unique sensory abilities allow fish to move fluidly and in sync with the school. While schooling fish make moving in perfect time look easy, there are various factors that the fish must instantaneously account for; the fish must quickly respond to water currents and react instantly to changes within the group. Scientists have discovered that fish base their decisions on a synthesis of where all the fish in its field of view are headed, instead of following its nearest neighbors.
Check out these 27 pictures of the incredible phenomenon:
Sure, betta fish are pretty boring when they are left to swim alone in small, clear containers. Yet when captured under the lens of photographer Visarute Angkatavanich, bettas are anything but basic. Angkatavanich’s betta fish photography went viral last year when sites like This Is Colossal shared his photographs of colorful fish contrasted against black and white backdrops.
Given the extreme depths to which scientists must go to find these frightful–and tiny–fish, little is known about the hatchetfish. A prime source of worldwide model envy, the morose-looking creatures derive their name from how razor-thin they are, no extreme dieting required.
Anatomically speaking, the hatchetfish’s silver-colored thorax resembles a hatchet’s blade. Its name is somewhat deceiving, though; measuring a mere one to five inches in length, the hatchetfish is hardly imposing, let alone deadly. It’s just, well, pretty terrifying to look at.
The marine hatchetfish is endowed with bioluminescent properties, which allow it to evade predators lurking in the depths below. If you absolutely must see one for yourself, you’ll need to slip on your scuba gear and head to the Pacific, Indian or Atlantic Oceans and swim at least 50 meters below the oceans’ surface, as that’s where the hatchetfish calls home.