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The fish is around 50cm long, and moves through the honey by swimming. The honey is fresh from the bees that made it, and stays that way effectively forever. The fish is a carnivore, and eats crustaceans that also live in the honey. What would this fish look like, specifically relating to its hydrodynamics, propulsion, and gas exchange method?

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  • $\begingroup$ A three part question is lacking the focus expected of WorldBuilding questions - they are expected to be focus on a single question. $\endgroup$ Aug 20, 2021 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ @GaryWalker Do you think I should have split this up into 3 questions about the exact same species? And if so, what about other questions? Should my question about the gryllus be divided into 40-odd questions about where each individual organ and connection goes? $\endgroup$ Aug 20, 2021 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ @GaryWalker Also, how are you supposed to answer a question about a fish's hydrodynamics without mentioning its propulsion? Or vice versa? I feel those are pretty well interlinked $\endgroup$ Aug 20, 2021 at 19:19

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Ichthys thixotropicus
A very strange species of fish, native, and indeed endemic, to New Zealand, is the Ichthys thixotropicus. It was first described by William Wigglesmore in the early 19th century.

The fish, no more than 1/5 of a kōiti in length, can easily be seen swimming, albeit slowly, through one of the most deliciously viscous fluids Nature's bounty provides: honey. In the case of I. thixotrpicus, it inhabits pools of mānuka honey.

Wigglesmore noted that when observing the fish at rest, their outlines were clearly visible within the honey, but whilst swimming, the fish became blurry. Wigglesmore set up an observatory by pouring a sample of honey into a specially made glass vessel, whose interior space was only half a kōnui thick. Setting a strong lamp behind this observatory and using a microscope to watch the fish from the other side, Wigglesworth noted that whilst in motion, the fish seemed to vibrate most energetically. From his notebook we read: Several of the little buggers wiggle about more frantically than their fellows, and their progress through their melifluous honey home appears all the faster. One little wiggler swam so rapidly that he could move a kōiti within just under an hour's time!

Later observations demonstrated that the fish's agitation and the nature of the honey itself seem to be the keys to its locomotion. Mānuka honey is curious in that it demonstrates the property of lowering its viscosity when agitated. The fish make use of this property by creating a corridor of less viscous honey through which they swim, very much in the way microorganisms swim through water or spermatazoa swim through semen. The fish themselves, it was later observed, lack all but the most rudimentary fin structures. They seem to locomote much in the way a snake does, by undulating. Their rapid rate of undulation causes the honey to thin a little, which allows them to move through their habitat.

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It would need 3 things:

  1. It would need to have a very large strength to size ratio to push it through honey to push through the high viscosity substance.
  2. It would need to breath air because honey does not carry much dissolved O2.
  3. It would need to prevent any moisture from leaking from itself because moisture causes honey to crystalize (unless it burrows instead of swims).
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    $\begingroup$ What comes to mind is a badger with scales. $\endgroup$
    – ShadoCat
    Aug 20, 2021 at 21:52

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