Bright ar­mor

Animal Scene - - ANIMAL APPEAL -

The Ja­panese Pinecone fish isn’t hard on the eyes. It is, how­ever, hard on the teeth. The pinecone ap­pear­ance not only comes from its color but also from the way the scales on its body over­lap. It ends up look­ing like heavy platemail ar­mor.

On its sides are spikes run­ning down the length of its body. The spikes ap­par­ently are not just su­per­fi­cial scales, but also form part of its skele­ton.

In a 2017 study by Stephanie Pap­pas of the Univer­sity of Wash­ing­ton pub­lished in Live­science, a com­puted to­mog­ra­phy scan done on a Pinecone fish showed that the skele­ton was ac­tu­ally one big bony ar­mor. The spikes were di­vided into small sec­tions called scutes.

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