The mystery of Japan’s underwater crop circles has been solved.
Scuba diver and photographer Yoji Ooakata was diving near Amami Oshima at the southern tip of Japan when he first saw the nearly six-foot large circle of geometric patterns in the sand, 80 feet below the surface.
He soon returned to the spot with a team of divers and a television crew to document the “mystery circle.”
With the help of underwater cameras, the team discovered that the patterns and circles were created by a small puffer fish, working day and night to create his masterpiece.
After analyzing the creation process, the team discovered that the circles serve a number of functions. Most importantly, the design helps the male attract a mate. The female swims along the ridges until she finds the male. Then, they lay their eggs in the center of the circle, where the grooves act as a barrier to the elements. The team also noted that the more ridges the circle has, the more likely it is that the fish will attract a mate.
The following video contains a series of photos of the “mystery circle” and the fish that created it.
You can read more about Yoji Ookata and his discovery, here: The Deep Sea Mystery Circle–a love story.
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.