Crop Circles off the Coast of Japan? Mystery Solved.

Written by on September 24, 2012 in Marine Life
Close-up of a puffer fish.

Close-up of a puffer fish. Photo credit: caitlinburke via photopin cc

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.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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