- Burrowing Fish Causing Pricey Damage in South Florida
- China’s Finless Porpoise Faces Extinction Within 15 Years
- All-White Adult Orca Spotted in Russian Seas
Burrowing Fish Causing Pricey Damage in South Florida
Although it is not considered to be an invasive species, the armored catfish is the focus of a witch hunt by residents of South Florida’s lakeside communities for the costly erosion it causes to lay its eggs. With population estimates numbering into the millions, this non-native tropical species burrows into the sides of lake beds about 18 inches deep and 3 to 4 inches wide, creating a spongy, uneven surface topside, and the potential for property devaluation and even physical injury. Because the fish has no natural predators in the water, and even birds balk at the sturdy scales of the armored catfish, the only solutions are man-made, costing large communities upwards of a million dollars or more. Residents fear that if no action is taken, the community may be facing a large sinkhole, but no consensus has been reached on exactly how to pay for projects to counteract the damage.
China’s Finless Porpoise Faces Extinction Within 15 Years
Known as the “river pig” in Chinese, the endangered finless porpoise that inhabits China’s Yangtze River and connected freshwater lakes is facing extinction as soon as in the next 15 years. Ten dead porpoises have been found in one of the lakes since March, with the causes of death determined to be pollution and starvation. China’s factories and farms have been a well-known source of toxic pollution into the rivers and freshwater bodies that surround metropolitan areas, and falling water levels are making it ever more difficult for the finless porpoise to find food. In 2006, it was estimated that China had only 1,200 finless porpoises left, and recent studies show their populations have fallen to less than half of that number.
All-White Adult Orca Spotted in Russian Seas
Although scientists have twice documented the presence of young albino orcas in the rough seas of Russia, only recently have they observed an adult all-white male within a pod of other orcas, including its mother and brothers, who all display normal coloration. Judging by the length of his dorsal fin, an impressive 2 meters, scientists estimate his age to be at least 16, possibly older due to the ragged condition of the fin. Despite their desire to know what causes the unusual pigmentation, scientists are refraining from attempting a biopsy of the animal unless there is a significant conservation need. They will instead focus on closer observation of the albino and the rest of his pod, in order to gain further understanding into the social structures of multi-family pods and larger “super pods.”