- 7:08 pm - Fri, Jul 6, 2012
- 1 note
Zoologger: The fish with its genitals on its head
He closes in on a female, swims alongside her and tries to mate with her.
But to an outside observer, he seems to be doing it wrong. His head is right next to the female’s, but he’s at a 45-degree angle so his rear end is well below hers. Sounds misguided, but actually he’s doing it exactly right.
This is the challenge faced by all priapiumfish, a little-known group of Asian fish that have their reproductive organs on their chins, just behind their mouths.
The system seems to work. The oviducts of female priapiumfish tend to be stuffed full of sperm, so pretty much every egg gets fertilized.
It’s not just the reproductive organs that are attached to the priapiumfish’s head: so too is its bottom. The fish’s anus is on its priapium, slightly forward from the genital opening. Its guts perform a U-turn to reach it.