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The Puffer Fish and Its Remarkable Sand Art

Nature By

Puffer fish are, of course, most famous for their ability to “puff” themselves up when attacked, as they inflate and cause the spines in their skin suddenly to be displayed. Yet they also have a lesser known, downright artsy side. There are 120 species of puffer fish. The Japanese puffer fish uses his fins to dig furrows in the seabed, eventually creating intricate sculptures.

We’re only now discovering and understanding these for two reasons. First, as noted, they’re at the bottom of the sea. Second, they’re not meant to last. These works are intended to attract the attention of a female. Once that task has been accomplished, they’re no longer needed and soon wash away, like a sandcastle at the beach. For a time, however, they are remarkably striking, a reminder that nature is sometimes capable of consciously creating beauty. Incidentally, when first found, the puffer fish’s creations were often called “underwater crop circles,” as researchers struggled to make sense of how they so mysteriously appeared and then vanished.

To learn more about the sand art of the puffer fish, click here. Watch a puffer fish in action in the short video below, as well as some other footage of nature at its most majestic.

—RealClearLife Staff