One of the classes I’m currently taking as part of my Marine Biology major is Ichthyology, or the study of fishes. Taught by the Merlin-esque Professor Buth, the class is one of the most interesting I’ve taken in a long time.
For instance, our laboratory exams involve identifying the taxonomic information of around three hundred fish over the course of the quarter. For this upcoming test, that means knowing the class, subclass, infraclass, superorder, order, family, genus, and species (as well as habitat, range, etc.) of over ninety preserved specimens. Imagine studying for an exam by walking into a classroom filled with yellowish jars of full of dead fish taken from around the world, some more than three times older than you are, pulling them out one by one, looking them over carefully for identifying characteristics, and doing it a gazillion times, late into the night. Yea, it’s a bit weird.
In light of all this, my recent lunch of catfish cahn chua, a sour Vietnamese fish soup, was a bit surreal, to say the least. I knew a lot more about the fish than was probably healthy for a average consumer of the exotic meal. For example, did you know almost all catfish can be distinguished by the presence of a fleshy adipose fin behind their dorsal fins? Or that the amazingly revolting candiru is in the same order? Ever heard of noodling?
As you can tell, I probably need to get out more, ha. (Well, at least after I take this test!)
Until that time, go fish.