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W e L o v e Gnathiids

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W e L o v e Gnathiids. Phish team is supreme. In case you didn’t get it before…. Phish Team . IS. GROOVY. Gnathiids are parasitic organisms that suck blood from various species of phish. Our project investigated the diel patterns of gnathiid infestation on phish . YUMMAY!!!.

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Gnathiids are parasitic organisms that suck blood from various species of phish. Our project investigated the diel patterns of gnathiid infestation on phish.




Gnathiid infestation rates are highest at dawn compared to other times of day.

methods and


  • Wake up
  • Put on bathing suit
  • Find snorkeling gear
  • Get in the truck with crazy drivers (paul or jeremy) and sleepy people
  • Get stung by evil yellow jackets who love to hang out in our truck
  • fall out of the truck over the huge bumps
  • Get wet in the rain
  • Cut our feet on the rocky beaches cuz we can’t see where we’re going and we forgot our flashlights
  • … be continued
Plunge into water
  • Spit into goggles
  • Fumble about trying to get flippers on and then realize you forgot to put on your booties
  • Swim out for at least a quarter of a mile (according to jeremy)
  • catch nasty damsel phish
  • Get stabbed by phish spines and stung by fire coral
  • Put phish in cages
  • Fumble for rocks to weigh cages down at the bottom of the caribbean sea
  • Watch Shellie drop the scissors once again
  • Swim back to shore and pile into truck with monstrous jumping spiders
Knock out phish with powerful doses of clove oil
  • Wait for them to pass out
  • Drink four cups of Santo Domingo coffee, specially brewed by Paul
  • Play a few rounds of monopoly
  • Plunk phish in fresh water
  • Play some more rounds of monopoly
  • Filter water
  • Wash off filter mesh with ethanol and place the ethanol/gnathiid solution in a petri dish
  • Examine under microscope and count gnathiids until our eyes give out
  • Eat breakfast
  • Fall into a deep slumber onto the lunch tables
  • Start over 3 hours later…
  • Mucho gnathiids like to suck blood as the sun comes out, thus proving that they are in no way related to Transylvanian Vampires. Which is exactly what this study was all about.

Dawn peaks in infestation by gnathiids affects cleaner dynamics because phish seem to visit cleaning stations more frequently in the early morning (so that they can get the gnathiids off).

The relationship between the parasites and the phish affects phish behavior in that they are compelled to visit the cleaning stations

new questions

*Why would dawn be preferable as an infestation time?

-time when phish wake up

-easy access because phish are still sleepy/not moving too much

- dawn reflects a transition period (so add up nocturnal and diurnal gnathiids– thus have a higher total population)

*Night-time infestation is higher than daytime… this could show that gnathiids are mainly nocturnal or that nocturnal gnathiid populations are more abundant in the Caribbean sea.

more questions...

*Do gnathiids use their sense of smell or sight to seek out phish?

*If olfactory cues are significant in finding host phish, then why would diel times of infestation differ?

*why would it be evolutionarily beneficial for gnathiids to be nocturnal?

*why do scientists not need sleep?

- but of course, it is because we live off of coffee and stolen brownies!

a few good quotes
A few good quotes…
  • “it doesn’t matter how deep you fish, it’s how you jiggle your worm”- Jeremy
  • “Termites are boring! Let’s go snorkel”- Puni (Puni, you traitor, you are SOOO fired – add-in by Claire)
  • Ranger Rob is hott!
  • Califoooornia, here we cooooome!
Thanks to everyone who helped out….especially the awesome phish team!!!

Dr. Paul Sikkel

Jeremy Mathenia

Corinne Almquist

Alexis Kuiper

Shellie Bailey

Martina DeSalvo

Honorary members: Collin Schaumburg, Aaron, Ranger Rob, and all the phish we killed.