This great series of photographs comes from a 1911 paper in the Journal of Experimental Zoology by American ichthyologist and zoologist Francis Bertody Sumner. The images were captured a year earlier at the Naples Zoological Station in Italy and back home at the U.S. fisheries Laboratory at Woods Hole, in a series of experiments in which Sumner puts a various types of flounder through their paces as regards camouflage ability. Placing them against bold and striking patterns (more than they’d experience in nature), Sumner photographed them at various states of adapting to their new backgrounds — and concluded that the fish with the most favourable adaptive qualities was a small species of flounder named Rhomboidichthys podas. Although the fact that the photographs are in black and white (a limitation of the time) might slightly impinge on their scientific usefulness, it does somewhat enhance their aesthetic qualities, at times lending them an almost pop art air.
If you liked this...
Please consider supporting us or subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter
We rely on your donations to keep the project going
Colour lithographs and photographs from the first book to extensively depict a coral reef using photography….more
Wonderful drawings of balloonfishes and pufferfishes made during, or shortly after, the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842….more
Celebrating the centenary of Gustav Klimt’s death with a selection of close-ups from his most famous painting….more
This delightful book features a collection of nineteenth-century textile samples — in the form of watercolour copies — from the Robert Maison company….more
Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes can lay claim to be being the earliest known publication in colour on fish, though many specimens seem to border on fantasy….more
A selection of plates from Albertus Seba’s cabinet of natural curiosities, focusing on his elaborate and highly decorative presentations of shells and other marine …more
Selected double-page spreads from Adriaen Coenen’s exquisite Visboek (Fish Book), an epic 800 page tome on all things fish and fish-related. Coenen began work on th…more
A selection from the 100 plates featured in the book Examples of Chinese ornament selected from objects in the South Kensington museum and other collections (1867) …more