What on Earth? August 2017

Do you know what's featured in this month's edition of What on Earth? Can you guess to which animal this feature belongs?

Click and find out!

Answer: The Bill of a Blue Marlin.

This is the bill of a blue marlin. Bills of this type are seen in billfish such as sailfish, swordfish, and marlin. 

Blue marlin are the largest billfish, with the largest Atlantic blue marlin ever caught weighing in at 1,402 lbs! There are two subspecies of blue marlin, Makaira nigricans (native to the Atlantic) and Makaira mazara (native to the Indian and Pacific oceans). Those belonging to Makaira mazara tend to be larger.

Billfish typically use their bills to slash at schooling fish when they hunt. They may swim through a school of fish slashing as they swim, and circle back to eat the fish they were able to hit. Most billfish do not use their bills to spear, although blue fish have been known to throw fish in the air and “bayonet” them!

As a predator, the blue marlin uses its specially-adapted bill to hunt and eat. At SKELETONS, our exhibits address subjects such as predation, adaptation, and diet. Visit our Education Programs page to learn more about what your students can learn about these topics during a field trip to SKELETONS!

 

Sources:

http://www.billfish.org/education/what-are-billfish/

http://www.marlinmag.com/biggest-marlin-ever-caught