[Non-ceph] Monster sunfish

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by Steve O'Shea, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. Steve O'Shea

    Steve O'Shea Colossal Squid Supporter

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    ... this monstrosity is coming my way today, and I'm not ready for it ....

    Would love to preserve it down, but I simply don't have facilities for it. Anyone any experience making casts of animals? We'll try this first, latex, at HUGE expense, and then fillet it (in the process, do an autopsy; full parasite load examination, see what's in that belly, and look for any other apparent sign of distress/abnormality), then articulate the skeleton (HUGE cost).

    It seems like too great an opportunity to pass up.

    Anyone want to wing there way to NZ to help out this week?
     

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  2. Architeuthoceras

    Architeuthoceras Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    Just be sure to use the latex with the ammonia drying agent, at least it will smell like a big squid. :lol:
     
  3. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    I wish I was qualified to help you out. Sounds fun.
     
  4. mournblade

    mournblade Blue Ring Registered

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    Sorry, but. . . .

    I'm just curious (and ignorant of the subject, I admit), but
    what is the significance of a sunfish? I was always under the
    impression that these were fairly common beasties, and were
    ALWAYS huge. :hmm:

    I guess I'm wrong, huh?
     
  5. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    I've never done a big cast, but if I were in your shoes I might try this: after you've got a few layers of latex or silicone dry to get the surface detail, start putting down layers of fiberglass cloth and epoxy boatbuilding resin (you could try polyester resin for lesser expense) to give the mold a strong mother to hold its shape. I've used plaster mothers on decent-sized bone molds (up to say a meter) but that would be way too heavy on a critter like that. You might (read: make your students) practice the technique on something smaller.

    Dan
     
  6. Steve O'Shea

    Steve O'Shea Colossal Squid Supporter

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    No, not wrong, but they're certainly not common down this neck of the woods; to us big things like this are the exception. I'm not too sure how we're going to handle this yet, but the fibreglass/latex combination sounds good (thanks Dan).
     
  7. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    Another thing I just thought of if you went the fiberglass route, you might consider fiberglassing 2x4s or furring strips into it to add more rigidity: the composite on its own will be pretty stiff, but there will clearly be a lot of bending moment on it.

    I was just thinking about some burlap/plaster field casts for real big dino bones I've seen that had 2x4s worked in. These also served as handles or hardpoints for a front-end loader or forklift.

    Dan
     
  8. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    We had a juvenile down here a few years back (they're even rarer down this end of the country). It was in pretty bad shape when it arrived so no chance of getting a cast buit we buried it and now have a skeleton to rearticulate......when we feel brave and are REALLY bored! It's quite a puzzle.

    J
     
  9. Tintenfisch

    Tintenfisch Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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  10. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    I seem to recall that Mola molas have a huge parasite load... Also they have the cutest larval stage - looks just like a puffer fish (which makes sense since they are related to puffer fish)... wish I had some spare time, I would love to help out!
     
  11. Phil

    Phil Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    We had a couple off Dover harbour a couple of months ago. I was surprised to learn that that these things must therefore have a global distribution, within certain parameters of temperature and salinity of course. NZ and the UK are practically opposite sides to each other on the Earths surface, yet we share some of the same fish. Fascinating.

    A little too far to come to help out at the weekend though Steve. Sorry.
     
  12. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I second the fiberglass-resin-- I just fixed my rusty car roof with boatbuilding fiberglass, and it was great! Just make sure you work fast if it's a hot day, 'cause it sets up faster than you think it will!

    We get sunfish off California, but there aren't many that size around these days. I see a lot in old pictures from the 1920s or so; I think the big ones got fished out in this area in the mid 20th century.
     
  13. OoNickoC

    OoNickoC Blue Ring Registered

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    ANy ideas to whieght? That is a big one. I wonder how many guys it took to secure the fins so it would fit in the boxcar...?
     
  14. Steve O'Shea

    Steve O'Shea Colossal Squid Supporter

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    The weight worries me; I have a 3-ton weight restriction on the 2nd-floor carpark into which I'm taking it. The trucking company reckon to ~ 6 tons - I think not - the freezer fellow reckons 2 tons minimum, I reckon closer to 1.2 tons .... but I have no comparative experience. Perhaps we should weigh the 'bits', as I don't have big enough scales to put this puppy on!
     
  15. DHyslop

    DHyslop Architeuthis Supporter

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    With some good measurements it shouldn't be too tough to estimate the volume and mass?
     
  16. WhiteKiboko

    WhiteKiboko Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    find a truck stop.... weigh the vehicle you'll use and any trailer, go pick up the fish and then go again.... (minus the pallet after you've moved the fish)

    it may be just be a story, but back in the day (think 50s/60s) there was a story about weighing an american football lineman (suposedly the first 300#er) at a truck stop since they didnt have scales that went that high....

    are mola any good for eating? the fact that it got sent to steve instead of market suggests no....
     
  17. Steve O'Shea

    Steve O'Shea Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Exactly what are you saying, sweetums? Hmmmm. Anyone seen WK in the market recently?

    I have heard that they make good eating, although cuttlegirl's earlier, re parasite loading, is cause for concern.
     
  18. WhiteKiboko

    WhiteKiboko Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    ok good point.... i mustve spaced on that part of the thread.....

    i didnt mean anything - unless theres a history of possibly unsafe seafood being sent you way...

    what? :twisted: buy you a fugu dinner? :smile:
     
  19. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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  20. Illithid

    Illithid Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    I have done this same thing (admittedly not with a giant sunfish) at the county dump. They have accurate vehicle scales, are generally interested in helping (if they are bored), and don't mind the smell. :grin:
     

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