As if you need another reason not to touch a stone fish – other than their painfully poisonous spines – scientists have discovered a brand-new defense mechanism: A switchblade that is built into their face.
Ok, so technically this “switchblade” is called a lachrymal saber, and it’s located on a bone under the eyes of stone fish. Evolutionary biology and ecology professor William Leo Smith first learned about the switchblade while dissecting his pet stone fish 15 years ago. But it’s taken years of research to confirm the evolutionary role of such a slick tool.
“Why do we see this accumulation of so many horrible things on one fish?" Smith posed to CNN, hinting at the combination of the saber, spines, and poison.
The obvious use is for self-defense, which is critical for stealth predators that live on the ocean floor. But Professor Smith believes the saber could also have a role in sexual behavior and courtship. And to top it off, the saber glows green. The force is strong with this one.
Read more about the discovery of the lachrymal saber in stonefish, here.
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