Inside a sunfish – gelatinous and worm-filled

At first we thought we’d found a swim bladder, which would be extraodinary as sunfish aren’t thought to have them.

However, it turns out to be a really gelatinous mass of muscle, large and unusual looking.

A window inside a sunfish. Photographer: Ruth Hendry (c) Te Papa

A window inside a sunfish. Photographer: Ruth Hendry (c) Te Papa

Parasitic worms have been found inside the liver. It was expected that the sunfish will be home to a large number of parasites, and unfortunately for this sunfish it’s living up to expectations!

 

Watch sunfish science live!

Watch live 13 Aug 2013

Te Papa’s scientists will be conducting research on our sunfish specimen on 13 August 2013. We’ll be live-blogging and sharing the scientists’ findings through Facebook and Twitter.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to sit in as scientists do their research on these rarely seen animals. Don’t miss out!

Read our sunfish science blogs.

Use #sunfishtepapa to join in the conversation on Twitter.

4 Responses

  1. Ali

    Hi Ruth
    Thanks for the info.
    I am interested to collaborate on the samples, specially nematodes.
    Can we discuss it through email?
    ali_hal572002@yahoo.com

    Best
    Ali

    Reply
  2. Ali

    Hi Ruth
    Thanks for the info.
    I am interested to collaborate on the nematodes, if you think so, let us discuss with email.

    Best
    Ali

    Reply
  3. Ali

    Like to know the species of the sunfish,
    May i ask if you id the parasites and what were they?
    and if they are in process?
    I am interested in fish parasites.

    Reply
    • tepapamuseum

      Kia ora,

      I asked our resident ichthyologist, who replies:

      The sunfish species is Masturus lanceolatus.

      The parasites were preserved 50:50 – half fixed in formalin, half in ethanol (for DNA analysis), but we have no-one at Te Papa who is capable of identifying them. We are holding them ‘in trust’ for the nation against the time when a researcher will eventually examine them & answer the other questions.

      I hope that helps!

      Thanks,
      Ruth

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