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Fish #183 Plain Bonito Orcynopsis unicolor ~ Joanna Urbani
Mixed media 28 x 36 cm
The Plain Bonito is a Perch-like ray-finned fish. It can be found in the Eastern Atlantic, from Oslo, Norway south to Dakar, Senegal but the range is centred in the southern Mediterranean Sea. At maturity they range in size from 70cm up to a maximum of 130cm, with a maximum published weight of 13.1kg. They have between 12-14 Dorsal spines, 12-15 Dorsal soft rays and 14-16 Anal soft rays. They have a rather large mouth with the upper jaw reaching as far as the hind margin of the eye. A female weighing 5 or 6kg may carry up to 600,000 eggs, which are spawned in portions.
They form small schools at the surface of the water, and the first dorsal fin stands out of the water similar to that of sharks. They feed on small fishes such as sardines, anchovies, jacks and mackerel. The Plain Bonito is fished mostly by Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. It is marketed canned or frozen. Their current population level is thought to be stable.
I chose the Plain Bonito largely because of it's name. Always the champion of the underdog I felt a bit sorry for a creature with such an undramatic and unflattering sounding name and I got thinking that he (because he is definitely a he in my mind) could actually be leading a very colourful life as, for example, a member of a fishy Mafia-type mob. The Plain Bonito (see, you're looking at him with different eyes now, aren't you?!), quietly swims amongst his friends, anonymous and ready to strike his target, a dodgy anchovy. He then disappears quickly and silently back into the cover of the gang. Remember though, he's only working for the mob to support and protect his 600,000 babies!
Fish #183 Plain Bonito Orcynopsis unicolor ~ Kate Webber
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