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"Deal ... or no Deal"
Fish #92 Dealfish Trachipterus arcticus ~ Dee Dee Dewar
Watercolour and Mixed 34.5 x 51 cm
APPEARANCE: As a member of the ribbonfish family this fish has a pink dorsal fin running the length of its body (like a ribbon). Eel-like long slender body, bright silver in colour with faint black spots. No pectoral, pelvic, or adipose fins.
HABITAT & GEOGRAPHIC SPREAD: Home is the North Atlantic Ocean from the U.S, Norway and Iceland to Madeira Islands. Also present in the North Sea.
DEPTH: Although they are found in 300 to 1000 metre water depths they live in the mid-water zone (pelagic zone). They have been found swimming very close to the shore in small groups of two, or three (reason unknown).
SIZE: Maximum size of this species is probably 8-9 feet in length but usually found approximately half this size.
WHAT IT EATS: Natural prey is small fish and squid.
WHAT EATS IT: These fish are elusive and not much is known about them so what preys on them is speculative ... possibly bigger and meaner fish!
COMMERCIAL STATUS: They are not commercially fished. Their flesh is compressed due to living at greater depths and therefore unpalatable.
CONSERVATION STATUS: Not listed on any endangered species list.
ORIGIN OF NAME: Trachipterus: Greek, trachys, -eia, -ys = rough + Greek, pteron = wing, fin.
APPEARANCE IN FOLKLORE: Not much seems to be mentioned about the Dealfish itself but it could be amongst the 'sea serpent' myths of old. These 'sightings' are more associated with the Oarfish which is also a ribbonfish ... both the same Order of fish but a different Family (Order Lampriformes, ray-finned fish). They are similar in appearance but the Oarfish is larger. Another mention in folklore is when Oarfish wash ashore it is an omen of a potential earthquake … !BEWARE! grouping of some Dealfish washed ashore (have we found a reason previously unknown … a natural seismometer!?!).
IN GENERAL: These fish are a bit of a mystery with being elusive and rarely encountered. They seem to live a solitary life other than the occasional groupings. Encounters are mainly, and unfortunately, when they are found dead when washed up ashore.
MY CHOICE OF FISH: We all hear of the plight of our sea creatures as we use the oceans as dumping grounds for all sort of things ... currently the main focus is on plastics but the marine environment is constantly under threat from one thing, or another (overfishing, global warming, acidification, water pollution, etc.). The Dealfish name shouted out to me asking the question "are our sea creatures getting a fair Deal?" ... the answer is "NO!". The Dealfish could potentially be the broker of a fairer deal! It's either fairer deal ... or no Deal(fish) at all!!! ... hence the Title of my art representation "Deal ... or no Deal".
ABOUT THE ARTIST .. ME! I describe myself as ageless, timeless, limitless ... and quite often clueless ... but art for me is always an adventure. Each painting is like a journey ... I know where I want to end up but I'm never sure exactly how I'll get there (or what will happen along the way). That's the pleasure (and sometimes the pain!) ... it's so therapeutic (sometimes not?!). Here's to more adventures!
The Dealfish is long and slender, with a mane of rippling pink
I know not what it minds me of, so I must pause to think
It would not really look amiss at loud punk rockers balls
But posted through your letterbox you'd need some real long halls
I think I know the reason why some are found so close to shore
After one too many Dealfish raves, it just can't take no more!
Fish #92 Dealfish Trachipterus arcticus ~ Janis Young
Dealfish are one of nine species of ribbon fish. They are generally found in the Atlantic Ocean and parts of the North Sea. They are a rare visitor to the British Isles and are sometimes found washed up on British beaches from the North Sea along with increasing amounts of seaborne trash. When large pieces of plastic disintegrate, they don't disappear. They become microplastics that are eaten by small fish which are themselves prey for larger fish. As predators feeding on small fish and squid, Dealfish also ingest marine litter despite living well below the surface at 200 - 500 metres depth. Besides marine litter entering the food chain, trash such as plastic nets can entangle and kill the fish.
An average of 18,000 plastic particles are found on every square kilometre of the sea surface. Animals perceive the plastics as food. After ingestion plastic particles can damage and block the digestive organs which may cause internal injuries and death from starvation. Around 800 marine species are known to be negatively affected by contact with marine litter. The most obvious effects are ingestion of and entanglement in marine litter. The entanglement of marine life in litter items causes visible injuries which can be fatal, the effects of swallowing litter are often invisible.
So 'What's the Deal'?
To protect all marine life including Trachipterus arcticus and ultimately ourselves. We need to drastically reduce our use of plastics and prevent it from getting into the seas. My artwork is a representation in fused glass of the transparent Trachipterus arcticus with a range of genuine marine litter gathered from a British beach.
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