This guest post was written by Taryn Murray, a PhD student whose study focuses on leervis. We came across her leervis cartoons on Twitter and asked her to share her story. Taryn’s studies are supported by the Save Our Seas Foundation, the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme, the National Research Foundation and the Ocean Tracking Network.

Taryn Murray

My name is Taryn Murray and I’m busy finishing my PhD with Rhodes University and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity in the sleepy town of Grahamstown. At a recent conference in Canada, I realised how powerful social networking and science communication can be (thanks @phishdoc).

Subsequently, I signed up with Twitter and noticed an overwhelming number of accounts spreading the word about sharks.

So I thought, why not try do the same for fish? Since my thesis focuses on leervis, I decided that a fun way to start putting information out there would be to put words into pictures. As a result, Leervis Problems was born! Each drawing is generally associated with a fun fact about leervis.

The first bit of information I wanted to get out there was to make people aware of how exploited and vulnerable leervis, especially the juveniles tagged for my study, are to estuarine fishing. Ideas just flowed from there and I’m planning on eventually expanding the cartoons to other estuary-dependent fish such as dusky kob, white steenbras and spotted grunter too.

If you would like to see the fun side of fish and science, please follow me: @murray_taryn. Any ideas would be welcome too! I don’t intend on stopping any time soon.

Almost 25% of my tagged juvenile leervis were recaptured in the local fishery.

Did you know? Juvenile leervis join schools of mullet and strike smaller fish as soon as they are in range.

Did you know? Leervis generally take lures more readily than live bait.

This must surely be the only way leervis are able to move over 1 000km up the South African coastline!

Hooked on fish puns.

Did you know? Leervis aren’t big fans of turbidity. They are visual predators all the way ... unlike another predator, the dusky kob.

Did you know? Leervis don’t like feeding when water temperatures drop below 16°C.

Juvenile leervis are estuarine-dependent for the first three years of their lives.

After a weekend of over-eating this seems appropriate: Leervis can consume prey up to 70% of their own length!

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