National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Facts: Raining Fish

Reconstruction of the fish raining down.

Reconstruction of the fish raining down. (View larger version)

Photograph by Tigress Productions Ltd

  • The spangled perch is a hardy fish and can survive in both fresh water and sea water and in temperatures ranging from 5° to 44°C. This ability to survive in a variety of environments has helped make it one of the most widespread freshwater fish in Australia.

  • If you're thinking of adding a spangled perch to your fish tank then consider who its neighbours will be, as the spangled perch is aggressive to other fish and so will not be a very welcome guest in your tank.

  • A waterspout occurs when a tornado forms over an ocean, river or lake and funnels the water up in a thin column. These can be anything from a few feet to over a mile high, which would be higher than if you stacked four Empire State Buildings on top of one another. These water twisters can move at speeds of 80 miles per hour.

  • Spangled perch are not a very big fish, growing to an average length of 10-15cm. For this reason, they're not very popular with fishermen. If you do want to try your hand at catching one however, some of the best bait to use includes garden worms, grasshoppers and shrimp.

  • The Spangled Perch, also known as a "grunter," is part of the Terapontidae family of fish. They're named grunters because when they're caught they often make a characteristic grunting sound.

  • False killer whales are among the only animals, along with humans, to experience menopause. This means that the females live longer than they are able to reproduce. In fact, female false killer whales experience menopause at about the same age as female humans – around 45 years old – at which time they can take on a "grandmother" role and care for younger pod members.

  • The population of false killer whales is being threatened by humans as we expose them to pollutants, reduce their available food and kill them in our fishing nets. But they don't seem to hold a grudge; they're incredibly friendly and will swim alongside boats. They've even been known to share their food with humans.

  • False killer whales are not actually whales like their name suggests. They're part of the dolphin family which means they are related to bottlenose dolphins.

  • False killer whales are so named because fishermen used to mistake them for orcas, known as killer whales. Their scientific name, Pseudorca crassidens, comes from the Greek work 'Pseud' meaning false, and the Latin work 'orca' meaning 'some kind of whale.'

  • Like their namesake the killer whale, false killer whales hunt their prey using a cooperative technique called 'herding' where they encircle their prey and then pounce on it together. They also use their teeth to skin their prey before eating the remains.

  • One of the most eye-catching features of the Alpine ibex is its impressive horns. Like human ears, an ibex's horns never stop growing, and an adult male can have horns one metre long weighing 15kg. You can tell the age of an Ibex by examining the annual rings on the back of their horns.

  • Alpine ibex are outstanding climbers thanks to their unique split hooves, which have a wider cleft than other split-hooved species and allow them to grip onto steep rocks. Climbing comes naturally to new-borns too who are able to follow their mothers up steep rocks at only one day old.

  • The coat of the male Alpine ibex changes colour from grey in the summer to brown in the winter. They have help keeping their coats clean thanks to birds called gackles who peck parasites from their fur.

  • Male and female Alpine ibex do not live together throughout the year. The males live together in bachelor groups and only join the females during the mating season in the late autumn. During this time it's possible to spot solitary males as they leave their groups in search of females to mate with.
Tam Triance
Tam Triance

Why halfway through this article on flying fish does it start talking about false killer whales?