This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Nuts and Bolts: Cod Cornish

All right, you may preen yourself on having a brain with more possible connections than stars in the universe*, but you can't talk with your bladder, can you?

But cod can. And, in fact, they do. They use the noises they make with their swim bladders to raise the alarm, establish territories, and court their loves.

Just imagine how effective your chat-up lines would be if you could do it by making noises with your bladder (or, failing that, some other part of your excretory system**).

Unfortunately, according to Professor Steve Simpson from the University of Exeter, there are two grave threats to the continuance of these communicating cod

One is global warming. As the seas warm cod are travelling north to cooler waters, and populations of cod are encountering each other for the first time for centuries or perhaps millennia. The concern is that they will speak in different accents and won't be able to understand each other. 

The other fear is that there are now so many noisy ships' motors in the sea that even if the poor cod can work out what those strange Scottish fish are saying, they won't be able to hear them. 

I mean, it'd be like meeting someone at a night club - and no relationship has ever begun like that, has it?

Hmm...suddenly I begin to have confidence in the love-life of our cod, after all.


File:Portrait of Cod.jpg
Portrait of a Swedish Cod. Photo by August Linnman

Word To Use Today: cod. This word appeared in English in the 1200s and probably came from some German language. The Old High German for cod is cutte

This information comes from a talk Professor Simpson gave on the communication systems of fish at the Natural Environmental Research Council's Into The Blue Season in Liverpool.

*Though actually you haven't. Not even close. Synapses in the brain about 100 trillion; stars in the observable universe about seventy sextillion.

**Yes, I know a swim bladder isn't anything to do with a fish's excretory system. 

No comments:

Post a Comment