adaptation |
flora parrott & lindiwe matshikiza |

in 2018 a new species of fish called a cave loach was discovered by divers in an underground, labyrinth cave network in germany. parrott went over to meet with dr. jasminca behrmann who had been studying the new species at konstanz university. during the trip she also met with the diver who made the discovery, joachim kreiselmaier.

the idea of the ‘moment of recognition’ has been central to this project but so has learning more about the biology of the fish. the cave loach evolved from a surface-dwelling, sighted species to a creature without pigment in its skin and an altered eye structure, affording it little to no vision. its shape has become elongated, and its metabolism decreased. they slowed and stretched as they moved underground. the project focusses on the way the fish navigate, which is very different to surface loaches. it seems to be aided by sensors in their skin, as they read the space through vibrations; they have adapted to their new, profoundly dark surroundings.

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