Neuromasts and Quivering Baetis Bellies

What you can’t say about James R. Babb, thankfully, is that he writes “Me & Joe” stories. Beyond the irony of noisemakers being acceptable in saltwater but not in fresh, Babb addresses the concept of vibrating flies of all types and offers plenty of fresh humor in Gray’s Sporting Journal. “The lateral line,” he notes, “a kind of fish-length marshalling yard conveying vibrations from a receptive network of neuromasts to central data analysis quartered in the head, constantly monitors water for changes in pressure, telling fish not only where they are but also what’s around them and what it’s doing. A fish blinded by sadistic scientists can still find its prey through the lateral line. But leave the eyes alone and block off the lateral line, and the fish starves.”

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