Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Anadromous or catadromous?

As I'm sure you know, diadromous fish travel between salt and fresh water. Among that diadromous group, anadromous fish live in the ocean mostly, and breed in fresh water, while catadromous fish live in fresh water, and breed in the ocean. Why is this relevant to anything at all, you may well ask. Because it applies to some fish we happen to own. They're not exactly diadromous in the strictest sense of alternating between salt water and fresh water -- more like alternating between brick and wallboard environments. Also they're not exactly alive. They actually comprise a sculpture made by John Buckley for my mother, who installed them on an exterior wall of her house in Oxford, England. Buckley is best known for the Headington Shark -- Headington is actually part of Oxford, and I could see the shark if I peered down a side street at the right moment on the coach from Heathrow Airport.

When my stepfather sold the house a couple of years ago, my brother and I shipped a lot of her stuff back to the States, including the fish -- after first carefully photographing them so we could recreate their exact positions in relation to one another in their new home. I have to admit they don't look quite as good when they're high up on a light-colored wall as they were on a smaller brick wall, where they looked like they were swimming right out of the wall at you, owing to their deliberate brick-like coloration (though I can't explain the green lips). But still. Ben recently photographed them in their new habitat and sent them to Buckley:

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