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Fish #190 Smooth Sandeel Gymnammodytes semisquamatus ~ John Wyatt Clarke
Oil and acrylic on canvas 30 x 30 cm
Sandeels are common but this one charms me because it's quite mysterious and not much is really known about it. It's not important enough for science to have defined its range or habits, it's just lumped into the sandeels and most of what is written about it is assumptions based on more important sandeels. But the one thing that is known for sure is that it must be an important part of the diet of many larger fish, mammals and birds. Being so integral to the foodweb in nature and so irrelevant to humanity gives it a humble charisma that's irresistible. The painting operates on the power and character of anonymity.
It's found in coastal seas from Spain up to Norway and in the Mediterranean, and prefers to live over shell-gravel. It's a summer mass-spawner and swims in shoals, and can be anything from 15cm to 30cm long. Beyond these facts, there is 'a paucity of information' about everything else - its life history, population, and ecology.
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