These California Fish Leave the Water to Mate

Michael Murrie/ Pepperdine University
Michael Murrie/ Pepperdine University

The California grunion is an ocean fish that mates on land—specifically, on the beach at high tide. This presents all kinds of challenges. For one thing, the fish have to survive being out of water during the mating process; they're water breathers but can manage a short trip onto the beach. Then the eggs have to stay hidden and hydrated, avoiding becoming lunch for birds and other predators. Finally, the eggs have to hatch into water, at another super high tide two or four weeks later. It's a lifecycle that's akin to that of sea turtles.

In this beautiful 4K video from Deep Look, we learn about the grunion and their peculiar, challenging sex life. Enjoy:

If video isn't your thing, KQED has an excellent writeup. One thing we learn there is that "grunion" is both the plural and singular term for the fish. And we learn this peculiar fact:

During warm summer nights, crowds emerge to witness the grunion run. Some are there just to watch. Others scramble in the darkness to catch the fish and bring them home for a date with the grill or frying pan.

The Museum of Illusions Boggles the Mind


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The Truth Behind Italy's Abandoned 'Ghost Mansion'

YouTube/Atlas Obscura
YouTube/Atlas Obscura

The forests east of Lake Como, Italy, are home to a foreboding ruin. Some call it the Casa Delle Streghe (House of Witches), or the Red House, after the patches of rust-colored paint that still coat parts of the exterior. Its most common nickname, however, is the Ghost Mansion.

Since its construction in the 1850s, the mansion—officially known as the Villa De Vecchi—has reportedly been the site of a string of tragedies, including the murder of the family of the Italian count who built it, as well as the count's suicide. It's also said that everyone's favorite occultist, Aleister Crowley, visited in the 1920s, leading to a succession of satanic rituals and orgies. By the 1960s, the mansion was abandoned, and since then both nature and vandals have helped the house fall into dangerous decay. The only permanent residents are said to be a small army of ghosts, who especially love to play the mansion's piano at night—even though it's long since been smashed to bits.

The intrepid explorers of Atlas Obscura recently visited the mansion and interviewed Giuseppe Negri, whose grandfather and great-grandfather were gardeners there. See what he thinks of the legends, and the reality behind the mansion, in the video below.