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Meet the fish that happily live in the lake that turns birds to stone - Boing Boing

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Turns out, Lake Natron is an amazing example of an extreme niche environment where most life forms can't survive — but where a precious few adapt and thrive. The Lake is extremely salty and extremely warm (water temperatures can push above 100 degrees F). Because it's located in an arid region, rainfall is erratic, and so Lake Natron is also very shallow and prone to shrinkage. It's fed by hot mineral springs that bubble out of the ground. What you're left with is hot, salty, very very soft water that can, purportedly, feel viscous to the touch.

But those same conditions turn out to be pretty nice for certain species of algae. And the algae make great food for a species of tilapia that's adapted to the heat and the salinity. Both the algae and the fish that eat them live along the Lake's shorelines, near the hot spring inlets where mineral content (and, thus, food for the algae) is highly concentrated. The algae feed the fish and also feed flamingoes.

Yes, flamingoes. The lake that looks like a death trap in photographs is actually a major flamingo breeding ground, crucial to the birds' continued survival. That's because the flamingoes use the Lake as a defense mechanism, building up muddy "nests" near the shore, surrounded by just enough of the gross-feeling, undrinkable, smelly Lake Natron water to be a turnoff to would-be predators.

Brilliant flamingoes!

flamingo gif

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