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Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 230
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 4:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Larry saw his favorite food. He snuck up on it and took a bite. "Yuck!" he thought as he spit it back out, "this tastes awful!" You might not realize it, but something very important just happened. What happened, and why is it important?"

I'm going to try something here. As an ecologist, I am regularly struck by fascinating adaptations that represent unique -- and one might even say lateral -- creations of the evolutionary process. Some of them seem like they would make good lateral puzzles, and I'm going to try one now to see how it goes. But for this to work, let me lay out a few guidelines:
(1) This is not a "what am I." I'm not looking for you to figure out what species I'm describing. Figuring out things about the organism(s) involved will probably be helpful, but identifying the organism(s) is in no way a required part of the puzzle.
(2) The goal is to figure out what's going on from the clues given, not to see what you happen to recall from the Discovery Channel or school. Just like with any other type of puzzle, if you've already heard of the adaptation, please don't $poil.
(3) Googling is neither necessary nor encouraged. There should be no specialized knowledge required to solve this.

Have fun, and good luck!
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Post Number: 180
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 4:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it actually his favorite food? Or was it something else that looked like it?

Was there anything wrong with the favorite food? Is the food (its species, that is) going through a change?

Is the favorite food endangered? Or dwindling in that area? Does Larry's species risk dying off if they continue to rely primarily on that food?

Does Larry represent a mutation? Do we presume Larry will find another, new "favorite food"?
Ozymandias (Ozymandias)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 4:41 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"biological mystery".... hmmmmm..

Is Larry a non-human animal? If so, is his favourite food suddenly awful as an effect of some action of humans?
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 231
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 5:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it actually his favorite food? no Or was it something else that looked like it? yes

Was there anything wrong with the favorite food? no Is the food (its species, that is) going through a change? no

Is the favorite food endangered? possibly, but irrelevant Or dwindling in that area? possibly, but irr. clarification: Larry is a member of one species within a group of species for which this scenario would apply equally well. For some of them, the favorite food is rare, but for others, it's common. Does Larry's species risk dying off if they continue to rely primarily on that food? possibly, but irrelevant.

Does Larry represent a mutation? no, if by "mutation" you're asking whether there's anything unusual about his genes. He's typical for his species. Do we presume Larry will find another, new "favorite food"? yope

Is Larry a non-human animal? yes If so, is his favourite food suddenly awful as an effect of some action of humans? no
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 5:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the "thing that looked like his favorite food" a fruit? Nut? Animal? Relevant exactly what it was?
Ozymandias (Ozymandias)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 6:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is Larry in a place filled with other beings of his same species? Is he the first one of his species to ever experience such a contact with this "false food"?

Does this occur in the past? Present? Future? Before homo sapiens?
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 6:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the false food "trying" (in an evolutionary sense) to become the "new favorite food" of Larry's species?
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Post Number: 194
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 6:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does the "false food" represent a mutation of its species?
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 234
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 6:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the "thing that looked like his favorite food" a fruit? Nut? Animal? this one Relevant exactly what it was? yes, but you don't have to figure out the species to solve the puzzle

Is Larry in a place filled with other beings of his same species? most likely Is he the first one of his species to ever experience such a contact with this "false food"? no

Does this occur in the past? Present? Future? Before homo sapiens? all of the above (well, hopefully future)
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 235
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 6:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the false food "trying" (in an evolutionary sense) to become the "new favorite food" of Larry's species? no, but explore.

Does the "false food" represent a mutation of its species? It's typical of its species, if that's what you're asking. (As a biologist, I'm having a hard time answering this type of question because all biological features were a mutation at some point. But I don't think that's what you're asking.)
Ozymandias (Ozymandias)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 6:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the "false food" not just disgusting, but also poisoning or dangerous to Larry's species? Is Larry's species also some other species' favourite food? Relevant? Has the "important" thing meant a change to Larry? To his species? To the false food's species? To the true food's species? Is the similarity between true and false food in physical features? Smell? behaviour? Place where it can be found? Is the "false food" already dead when Larry tastes it?
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 6:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You understood right, I meant did the false food's resemblence to Larry's favorite represent a new change for its species...

Can we expect the "false food" to replace the real favorite food in that environment?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 7:05 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the "false food" not just disgusting, but also poisoning or dangerous to Larry's species? no Is Larry's species also some other species' favourite food? probably Relevant? no Has the "important" thing meant a change to Larry? yes To his species? no To the false food's species? to some members of the species, yes To the true food's species? no Is the similarity between true and false food in physical features? yes Smell? no behaviour? yes Place where it can be found? yes Is the "false food" already dead when Larry tastes it? no

You understood right, I meant did the false food's resemblence to Larry's favorite represent a new change for its species...

Can we expect the "false food" to replace the real favorite food in that environment? no
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 7:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is Larry in a "new" place? Meaning, did he (and some friends) stray from where his species usually lives?

Will Larry no longer look for his former "favorite food" because of this bad experience??
Ozymandias (Ozymandias)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 7:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is Larry from this moment on able to distinguish between true and false food without having to taste it again? Has he learned something from the experience anyway? Is the "false food" expected to survive the experience? Had it been true food the one involved in the experience, would it have been expected to survive?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 8:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is Larry in a "new" place? Meaning, did he (and some friends) stray from where his species usually lives? no, but worth exploring

Will Larry no longer look for his former "favorite food" because of this bad experience?? no

Is Larry from this moment on able to distinguish between true and false food without having to taste it again? Hmm, good question. It would depend on the exact set of circumstances and the exact species involved. I would guess that, in any case, it would be a temporary ability. Let's just say it's irrelevant, for simplicity's sake =) Has he learned something from the experience anyway? see previous answer Is the "false food" expected to survive the experience? yes, good question Had it been true food the one involved in the experience, would it have been expected to survive? no
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 8:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was there a change in Larry's environment? Did this change bring this new false food with it?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 9:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was there a change in Larry's environment? Did this change bring this new false food with it? no to both
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 9:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the false food "mimicking" the real favorite food?
Ferrets101 (Ferrets101)
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Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 - 10:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did Larry die as a result of the incident with the "false food"? Did the "false food"? did any other organism?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 12:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the false food "mimicking" the real favorite food? yes

Did Larry die as a result of the incident with the "false food"? no Did the "false food"? no did any other organism? it's possible that some other members of the false food's species died, but investigating this further might send you down the wrong track. I know it sounds strange, but no deaths that might have resulted from the incident are important.

That said, the fact that both Larry and the false food survived is important
.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 5:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Can we presume that Larry, and others of his species, will again mistake the "false food" for the real favorite food? Relevant?

Will Larry's species likely... incorporate the "false food" into their diet? ...develop a taste for it?

Will the false food continue to change in appearance? ...to look more like the real food? Less? Will the false food learn to avoid Larry's species, to avoid being eaten?
Alhucema (Alhucema)
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Posted on Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 6:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is Larry a mammal? Bird? Fish? Insect?
Same question for the real food/false food.

Does it change Larry's feeding habits towards the "real food"? Does he stop eating it?
Gourami (Gourami)
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Posted on Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 10:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think I get the answer to this, so I'll stay back, but interesting idea for a puzzle. Also, high five on being an ecologist. That's what I want to be if/when I grow up. =)
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 12:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Can we presume that Larry, and others of his species, will again mistake the "false food" for the real favorite food? yes Relevant? yes

Will Larry's species likely... incorporate the "false food" into their diet? no ...develop a taste for it? no

Will the false food continue to change in appearance? ... maybe over the course of thousands of years, but not in the near term to look more like the real food? if it eventually changed, it would be this one Less? no Will the false food learn to avoid Larry's species, to avoid being eaten? definitely not

Is Larry a mammal? Bird? Fish? Larry and real food are this. Insect? this is closest for false food, but not correct.
Same question for the real food/false food.

Does it change Larry's feeding habits towards the "real food"? no Does he stop eating it? no
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 12:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think I get the answer to this, so I'll stay back, but interesting idea for a puzzle. Also, high five on being an ecologist. That's what I want to be if/when I grow up. =) Neato. It's a fun thing to be. =) Feel free to chime in later if this situation ends up not being what you think it is.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 2:03 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the fake food put there deliberately?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 3:36 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the fake food put there deliberately? yes
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 2:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the fake food bait? Is it a worm? Is it on a hook?

Does Larry live in a "natural" environment, or something like a fish hatchery?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 4:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the fake food bait? yes Is it a worm? Is it on a hook? no to both
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 4:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is Larry caught in a trap?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 4:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is Larry caught in a trap? no, Larry swims away freely after the incident
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 4:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does Larry live in a "natural" environment, or something like a fish hatchery?
Sorry, I missed these ones earlier. Larry lives in a natural environment.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 4:46 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the fake food attached to anything? A larger animal?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 4:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the fake food attached to anything? yope (see next) A larger animal? yope. It actually is only part of an animal, so the animal as a whole is larger than the fake food
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 4:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Okay, I think I've got an idea, but it's something I "recall from the Discovery Channel or school", so I'm not sure if I should proceed. Plus I'm not sure I can put it all together to solve the puzzle...
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 5:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Drop, go ahead and proceed with with what you have. I just didn't want anyone spoiling it early because they happened to already know it, but you've been working towards this one for a while.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 5:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is an Angler Fish (or something similar) involved? I believe it has a stalk with an end that resembles a small fish, which it uses as bait to catch prey (other fish). I'm just not sure I get what "important" event happend, so i guess I'll have to investigate further...

Is it the fact that the larger fish evolved a mechanism to 'go fishing'? That it actually grew an appendage to mimic other fish?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 5:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is an Angler Fish no (or something similar) yope - see below involved? I believe it has a stalk with an end that resembles a small fish, this is similar - the "fake food" is an appendage that resembles a small fish. which it uses as bait yes to catch prey (other fish). but it is not used to catch prey - Larry survives, and is meant to survive I'm just not sure I get what "important" event happend, so i guess I'll have to investigate further...

Is it the fact that the larger fish evolved a mechanism to 'go fishing'? That it actually grew an appendage to mimic other fish? yes, both of these are important. The appendage is the "fake food." You don't need to know anything else about the appendage itself other than it looks like a fish, Larry tried to eat it, and it's part of an animal.

PS...don't forget that the animal with the "fake food" appendage isn't a fish.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 6:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the animal with the fish-like appendage (AWFLA)...
...a crustacean?
...a mollusk?
...a reptile? amphibian?

Does the AWFLA... ever eat Larry's species? ...primarily eat other fish that aren't Larry's species? ...know the difference, visually? by smell?

Wait - if AWFLA tried to eat Larry, would it give away its location? Is part of the "important" aspect - that the AWFLA learned "stealth" or "strategy"?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 8:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the animal with the fish-like appendage (AWFLA)...
...a crustacean?
...a mollusk? this one
...a reptile? amphibian?

Does the AWFLA... ever eat Larry's species? no...primarily eat other fish that aren't Larry's species? no...know the difference, visually? by smell? irrel

Wait - if AWFLA tried to eat Larry, would it give away its location? no Is part of the "important" aspect - that the AWFLA learned "stealth" or "strategy"? no

I feel like you're getting off track with this line of questioning. The "important" thing that you're trying to figure out is what happened when Larry tried to eat the mollusk's appendage. Not what happened in the mollusk's past or evolutionary history.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 9:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I guess I'm stuck, not sure where the right track is...

Did Larry make a point of avoiding the Mollusk's appendage thereafter?

Did Larry travel to look for his real favorite food?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 9:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I guess I'm stuck, not sure where the right track is...

Did Larry make a point of avoiding the Mollusk's appendage thereafter?
Did Larry travel to look for his real favorite food? no to both

hint: stop focusing on Larry. As far as he is aware, nothing happened other than that he tried to eat something and it tasted bad. Other than food, what kinds of needs motivate organisms to do what they do?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 9:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Also, I think it's my fault that you're paying so much attention to Larry, because I gave him a name - I only did so to avoid pronoun confusion, not to deliberately mislead. So to even things up a bit, let's give the mollusk a name too: Shelley.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 10:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ah, does Larry's activity somehow help Shelley... find a mate? Reproduce?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 1:41 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ah, does Larry's activity somehow help Shelley... find a mate? no Reproduce? yes
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 1:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is it sort of like the pollination relationship between bees & flowers? Are there eggs in the "fake fish appendage" that get distributed by Larry? ...sperm?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 12:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is it sort of like the pollination relationship between bees & flowers? Are there eggs in the "fake fish appendage" that get distributed by Larry? ...sperm? very, very close. I probably should have said "yesish" to reproduction.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 4:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does Larry take/carry (stuck to him, I would imagine - or maybe in his mouth?) anything with him when he leaves the mollusk? "Baby Mollusks"?

Does Larry's interaction with the mollusk "shake something loose" from the tendril, that the mollusk cannot do on its own?
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 271
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Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 5:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does Larry take/carry (stuck to him, I would imagine - or maybe in his mouth?) anything with him when he leaves the mollusk? "Baby Mollusks"? yes

Does Larry's interaction with the mollusk "shake something loose" from the tendril, that the mollusk cannot do on its own? no, but ORT

you've got pretty much everything except how to connect point A to point B:

1)Larry sees the appendage that looks like a fish
2)Larry bites the appendage
3)X
4)Larry spits out the appendage
5)Larry swims away, carrying baby mollusks.

All that's left is X.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Post Number: 300
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Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 6:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In his mouth?
Baby mollusks stick to Larry's body?
Get lodged in his gills?
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 272
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Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 6:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In his mouth?
Baby mollusks stick to Larry's body?
Get lodged in his gills? gills or fins, actually (which is an interesting fact but not something you had to figure out). But what I meant was, what is the connection between Larry trying to eat the appendage and Larry carrying away baby mollusks?
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Post Number: 301
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Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 6:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does Larry biting down release the eggs/larvae from the appendage?
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 274
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Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 1:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does Larry biting down release the eggs/larvae from the appendage? No. The larvae aren't actually in the appendage. They're in another part of Shelley's body
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Post Number: 309
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Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 2:05 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So does Larry biting the appendage trigger a reaction in Shelley, where he "squirts" the larvae, from wherever they are, at Larry?
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 277
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Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 7:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So does Larry biting the appendage trigger a reaction in Shelley, where he "squirts" the larvae, from wherever they are, at Larry? yes (but Shelley is a she =)

***************SPOILER***********
What happened: Shelley lured Larry to her using an appendage that looks like Larry's favorite prey. When Shelley felt Larry bite her, she released her offspring into the water. As many of them as possible grabbed on to Larry, and he unknowingly carried them away.
Why it's important: As Drop said, it's for dispersal. Shelley is a more or less stationary animal in a river, so she needs a way to (a) keep her tiny offspring from being swept downstream, and (b) help them disperse so that they're not competing with her and one another for resources.

Background info:
Shelley is a female freshwater mussel. Freshwater mussels are a group of bivalves (similar to and yet only distantly related to oysters, clams, and marine mussels) that are especially diverse in North America, but most North Americans have never heard of them. In addition to being diverse, they're also fascinating.

Shelley (and many other freshwater mussels) belong to species that have evolved appendages called mantle lures that look like fish prey items. Some look like fish, others look like crayfish, while still others look like insect larvae or other fish prey items.

When Shelley becomes gravid (which roughly means that she's pregnant), she stores the fertilized eggs in her gills until they develop into larvae called glochidia. When the glochidia are ready, she wiggles her mantle lure so that it looks like a fish swimming (or moves like whatever prey item it's supposed to look like).

Larry is an unsuspecting fish that swam up and took a bite, which signaled Shelley to release the glochidia into the water. The ones that come into contact with Larry latch on to his fins or gills (depending on the species of mussel). He unsuspectingly carries them away to other parts of the river. This is especially important for mussels because adult mussels might only travel in an area of a few yards radius during their entire adult life, so any dispersal that's going to happen happens during the glochidia stage, when they're catching a ride on a fish.

To complicate the situation further, many mussel species can only catch a ride on one or a few species of fish, so the lures they evolve are very particular to the favorite foods of the fish species they are able to ride on.

These things are pretty neat to look at. Here's one species, including pictures and videos. http://unionid.missouristate.edu/gallery/L_reeveiana/Reeviana.htm. The top picture shows several real fish and one mantle lure. Can you tell which are which? If you poke around on the whole site (http://unionid.missouristate.edu), you can see examples of other species' mantle lures plus some other similar adaptations.
Dropofahat (Dropofahat)
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Username: Dropofahat

Post Number: 316
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Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 7:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Very interesting. Thanks, Noel.

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