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Is this an aspiration plate?


ahlung62

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I purchased the following fish plate from the Warfield Fish Quarry gift shop while on a family fossil fish dig many years ago.  It looks to be a mid-sized diplomystus (about 8 inches long) swallowing a knightia.  The unusual thing about this situation is that the knightia seems to have been caught tail-first!?  I have never seen this before...  I would like some expert opinions on whether this is an unusual aspiration or if it's just a mega coincidence where two fishes happen to be preserved overlapped in just the right position to appear that way.  Any feedback would be appreciated.  Thanks.

Diplo 1.jpg

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This is really a task best undertaken through a lens, but the fact that diplos are thought to be surface feeders combined with the tail first thing makes me vote coincidence. 

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I think this is a coincidence.

 

The mouth of the Diplomystus doesn't appear to be extended enough to accommodate the Knightia.

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Fossildude19

I think it may be coincidental, as well. 

It looks like the mouth bones are missing or disarticulated on the Diplomystus.

Regards,

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I'm guessing coincidental as well, it's not incredibly unlikely two fish fall on top of each other.

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FossilDudeCO

@ahlung62

Can you snap me a close up picture of the top half. A little more detail can go a long way here.

I am leaning towards real aspiration.

 

This is not a high quality preservation, but is typical of what you see from the Warfield Quarry.

 

This would be strange that the Knightia was swallowed tail first. I have seen it before though. Only one other time.

It has all the right marking, but those close up photos will tell me which fish is on top or in the middle.

 

@Rockwood Diplomystus are the most common fish to be found choking on another fish! Think of them as ambush predators, striking from underneath. This could be the result of a missed or late strike.

 

@Ash Thanks for the tag, it is a cool piece!

 

 

  • I found this Informative 2
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Fossildude19

2cae6683_Diplo1.jpg

 

 

599012cae6683_Diplo1.jpg.c3bda230ebc50f4a6b5462f1d7e9d627.jpg

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FossilDudeCO

Thanks @Fossildude19! That helps a bit, I like the blue light filter?

This one may be tough as I can see that the prep job was a little strange.

 

Whoever prepped this piece, prepped through the Diplo to make the Knightia more visible. Not really the best way to prove an Aspiration.

 

 

  • I found this Informative 1
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Fossildude19

Blake,  @FossilDudeCO

The free photo editor I use (Photoscape)  has a "Reverse Black and White" option.

With colored pictures, it ends up looking a bit like a black light exposure. ;) 

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38 minutes ago, FossilDudeCO said:

Think of them as ambush predators, striking from underneath

I realized (too late) that their size would eventually make this the case. The ones in question at the time it was explained to me were small.

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I have a hard time trying to realize why someone would go through the diplo to prep out th eKnightia tail?  Seems very odd, but looks to me like an aspiration?  hard to tell.

 

RB

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FossilDudeCO
8 minutes ago, RJB said:

I have a hard time trying to realize why someone would go through the diplo to prep out th eKnightia tail?  Seems very odd, but looks to me like an aspiration?  hard to tell.

 

RB

 

My best guess is that the tail was barely visible in that disarticulated mess and they wanted to show it better.

 

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Im not sure anymore.  The more I look at it the more I think its not an aspiration.

 

RB

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Here's a couple of close-ups of the head area.  This specimen is currently on display in a Natural History Exhibit I've set up at Leeward Community College where I work ande I had to wait until today to retrieve it for the photos.  I've looked at the piece under magnification, and it looks like the diplomystus is missing some pieces around the mouth/jaw area -- not sure if it was due to the fossilization process or poor prep.  Thank you to everyone contributing to this discussion -- you've given me valuable insight and fruit for thought.

 

Roger

Aspiration close-up.jpg

Aspiration close-up 2.jpg

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I don't see anything that looks like part of the larger fish under the tail. Wouldn't that be almost a necessity to prove aspiration ?

The diplo wouldn't have swallowed a mouth full of mud with it.

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