Lionfish on a reef
Lionfish (Pterois volitans) hunting smaller fish on a coral reef. The lionfish is a predator, often hunting in groups. It uses its widespread fins to force prey, mostly smaller fish, into a crevice in coral or rocks, before sucking it into its mouth with a huge gulp. The spines in the fins contain a potent toxin, which deter predators and can deliver a very painful sting. The lionfish inhabits reefs in the tropical Indo-Pacific region, and in recent years has been sighted in the Caribbean, probably due to escapees from aquaria. It can reach about 38 centimetres in length. Photographed in the Egyptian Red Sea.
© GEORGETTE DOUWMA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Homeric cosmogony. Map of the Earth based on the myths and knowledge of the Ancient Greeks at the time of Homer (1st or 2nd millennium BC). The map shows a flat Earth centred on Greece and the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by a 'River Ocean'. At night, the Sun passes from west to east behind a range of high mountains in the north ('region of the night'). To the south in North Africa, is the 'region of the day'. Other mythological references include the Elysian Fields, the island of the Cyclops, and the entrance to hell. Civilisations (historical and mythological) marked here include: Ethiopians, Libyans, Pygmies, Egyptians, Amazons, Phoenicians, Hyperboreans and Cimmerians. Places include: Thebes, Sparta, Troy, Thrace, Crete and Cyprus. Artwork from Pioneers of Science (Oliver Lodge, 1893).
© SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Whale shark and pilot fish
Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) about to eat a pilot fish (Naucrates ductor). The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, growing up to 18 metres in length. This harmless, solitary animal is found in tropical and warm waters throughout the world, except the Mediterranean. It is a filter feeder, straining plankton and small organisms from the water. It generates its own suction rather than relying on its forward motion and schooling fish may be eaten at times. The pilot fish is a scavenger well know for its habit of accompanying ships and large fish, especially sharks, in warm waters. Photographed in the Red Sea, Egypt.
© Alexis Rosenfeld/Science Photo Library