Are you managed or monitored?
Shiny things collected by an easily distracted marine biologist. Here you may find fish and other marine critters, land and aerial critters, fannish things, especially of a science fishin' -y, Sherlock-y or cartoonish nature, art and fanart by other people (and very rarely by myself), tea oddities, occasionally my offspring, neurodiversity, cats, and other oddments. Enjoy!
The ask is open, and while I may bite, my teeth are pretty dull.
I am a biologist. That means I find creepy crawlies fascinating. There will be occasional spiders, bugs, and other invertebrates. I do try to tag liberally for those who screen - but if there's anything I need to add, just ask.
Btw, if you'd like to leave a real comment instead of liking or reblogging, Disqus comments are enabled; just click the date, and scroll to the bottom.
Hey locals, free lecture! Along our New England shores, we have rolling meadows of kelp full of crabs, lobsters and more. But it’s not just us. Kelps beds, meadows, and forests are found in one quarter of the world’s coastal areas. But these big beautiful cold water algae have started to respond to changes in water temperatures and wave action.
Join us this Thursday, October 23, at 7pm to learn more about what kelps means for you and what changes may be in store for the future.
Photo: Brian Skerry, Aquarium Explorer in Residence, via New England Ocean Odyssey
Ifni knows senoritafish is fond of her native giant kelp forests, but it’s nice to see how pretty the local algae is in other areas, too, and how it might be affected by climate change. Sounds interesting if you happen to be in Boston on Thursday…
Saddleback Anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus) - Dauin, Philippines
the next generation…so many eyeballs!
Freaked me out for a bit - what anemonefish looks like that?! Does it have some disease? Then the second line clicked, and I looked closer. Ah, eggs; about to hatch, maybe?
Sharks Can Be ‘Social or Solitary’
by Jonathan Webb
The most feared predators in the sea have individual personalities that affect how readily they socialise, according to a study by UK scientists.
Individual sharks, studied in groups of ten, showed consistent social habits - either forming groups with other sharks or finding camouflage on their own.
When a group was shifted into a new environment, individual sharks showed the same patterns of behaviour.
This is the first study to show that sharks have their own personalities.
The research was done in large tanks at the Marine Biological Association of the UK, in Plymouth, in collaboration with the University of Exeter. The findings appear in the journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology…
(read more: BBC News)
Ah! Friend of mine just forwarded me this ariticle today…so even sharks can be introverts and extroverts!
Sea cucumber, it’s a rare delicacy in Japan and subject to poaching. Dried sea cucumbers cost upwards of $300 per 100 grams.
Again, not a sea cucumber; a gastropod. That’s a nudibranch - very pretty shell-less snails who keep their gills (branchae - those white-tipped projections on the back) uncovered (nudi). That one looks a bit pink, but there’s a similar translucent white one off the coast here that’s called a wedding-veil nudibranch (Hermissenda crassicornis). Many are very brightly colored.
Here’s a sea cucumber.
(there’s actually a fairly decent-sized fishery for sea cucumbers here in California - if the above is true, the fishermen here don’t get anywhere near that price for them.)
when you have the hiccups while trying to sleep
Listening to a NOAA staff person talk on the Marine Mammal Protection Act and calculating PBRs and abundance, so I figure reblogging this is appropriate.
It kills me how harbor seals can get up on these little pinnacles and them just sort of blorp around to get in a comfy position to sun themselves. Hee.
Too Close for Comfort. A Great Wonderful Summer (GWS) experience
Local white shark encounter - divers working on removing net from a sunken purse seiner are investigated by (very pregnant-looking) female white shark while making a decompression stop while ascending. Not much place to hide if she decided she wasn’t hungry. However, this is not how whites take their prey usually; they generally ambush things at the surface from underneath - this one seemed to be curious.
Still, if that were me, the water would’ve probably gotten a lot warmer very quickly.
Peronella lesueuri - a beautiful sand dollar of importance in coastal ecosystem processes
The striking Peronella lesueuri (Clypeasteroida - Laganidae), is a large sand dollar up to 15 cm in diameter, with a wide Indo-Pacific distribution. The most noticeable and amazing feature of this species is its bright pink when alive, hence its common name of Pink sand dollar.
It is a shallow burrower and occurs at densities which may influence surface sediment chemistry and community dynamics. Therefore, knowledge of seasonal and diet movement rates and rhythms of this species are a key of interest in understanding coastal sediments biogeochemical dynamics.
Photo credit: ©Loh Kok Sheng | Locality: Pulau Sekudu (Frog Island), off Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin, Singapore (2009) | [Top] - [Bottom]
Pretty critter! Love that double star pattern.
(via How to control invasives? Put a fork in them! :: NOAA Fisheries)
Northern snakeheads - Do you think a fish as invasive and ugly as the northern snakehead could be yummy to eat? There’s a grassroots movement to create a market demand to control the spread of this species.
Um, I thought I’d read that’s kind of how they got to the US in the first place. To eat. You’d think it would be a fine way to get rid of them, but once people start liking something, they tend to want to keep it around, and markets want a steady supply.
We have a similar problem with Chinese mitten crabs in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento Delta area - not only invasive but they damage the flood-control dykes in the Sacramento River Delta by burrowing. They’re also a delicacy in their home range, but I believe they got here through larvae in ship ballast water. I think you’re allowed to take them recreationally (no limit), but not commercially, thus no incentive to create a fishery with a monetary value.
Hag stones, also known as Holey Stones or Witch Stones are stones that have a naturally occurring hole and are usually found near oceans and other bodies of water. They are said to be powerful protection talismans, and when worn or carried they protect the bearer from curses, hexes, negative spirits, and harm. They have also been used to prevent nightmares, being strung on a bedpost or placed underneath pillows. It is also believed that if you peer through the hole of the stone that you can see the Fae Folk and otherworldly entities. If one broke, it is thought to have used its power to protect a life.
i want one of these so fucking bad. spiderwick chronicles, and coraline both had these sort of things in them. i swear to god i would wander through the woods looking through one of these for days if given the chance.
Not that I’m averse to the stories about these items, but if you wandered through the woods to find one of these you probably wouldn’t have very much luck - as the first poster said they’re usually found near oceans. That’s because the holes are made by a family of rock-boring clams; Pholoadidae, the piddocks. They rotate the rough teeth on the anterior end of their shells to drill themselves into mud, clay and softer rocks - slate (as above), sandstone, and they’ve been known to drill into cement and other mollusc shells. Their burrows are often used by other critters after they’re gone, and of course when weathering, surf and erosion have done their work, you wind up with the above.
Of course, bivalves have been around for a very long time, so if your forest was growing on a former seabed or ocean shore, you might find trace fossil remnants of these (trace fossil being something the animal left behind, not the animal itself).
(Images of piddocks and the holes they drill)
Scientists in Australia tagged a healthy 9-foot great white shark as part of program to track these animals. Four months later they found the tracking device washed up on a beach. Something—something really big—had eaten this apex predator. But what creature could dine on such ferocious prey?
Scientists: A mysterious animal ate an entire 9-foot great white shark
My first thought was how did they they know it was eaten? Because tags often are shed, especially if not attached properly; however, there’s a link at the bottom to the mystery, solved.
(And damn my scatological sense of humor, one of the last comments on the second article tickled me.)
Hint: a 9’ great white is really not all that great.
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Whoa! Had Disney elected to make Finding Nemo scientifically accurate, Marlin would have turned into a female and mated with Nemo. Freaky. I’m glad they didn’t.
Welcome to the wonderful world of protandric hermaphroditism!! It’s surprisingly common among fish, who probably think that we land-lubbing air-breathers are pretty weird for being so set in our gender ways. Being able to change sexes is a great survival adaptation for Nemo’s kind, a way to make sure that there are always enough breeding partners to go around, and that everyone has an spread their genes.
The size difference between male and female clownfish or anemone fish is also an example of something called sexual dimorphism, which is seen in all kinds of species (including us). There’s many kinds of sexual dimorphism in nature, and all kinds of reasons for it, but bigger clownfish females may be able to produce more eggs, while smaller males may be able to migrate more easily between anemones to find a mate. Any know of other theories?
Destin, judging by your kids’ reactions, I’m not the only one who would enjoy watching the scientifically accurate Finding Nemo.
As opposed to California sheephead (Semicossyphous pulcher), which are protogynous hermaphrodites, like many in the wrasse family. They’re all born females, which are slender and uniformly pink to red. If the local large male disappears, the largest and most dominant female will begin a rather dramatic transformation into a male, developing a black head and tail, heavy jaws, and a characteristic forehead bump - while retaining the species white lower jaw, red middle, and large, dog-like teeth. Sometimes you can see individuals that are in the midst of the change, heads and tails graying but bodies still slender.
It’s an invertebrate, here in California, that’s a protandrous hermaphrodite. Spot prawns (Pandalus platyceros), a handsome deep water shrimp with four white dots on its abdomen, stripey cephalothoraxes and an extremely long pointy rostrum, are all males when small, while larger ones above a certain size have morphed into females. In the spot prawn’s case, sexual dimorphism is only in size.
Coincidentally, both of these species are popular with restaurants that specialize in keeping aquariums of live animals just prior to being cooked and served - partially because they’re fairly hardy and stand up to transport. Female sheephead are prized in certain Asian restaurants because they look similar to a fish on the other side of the Pacific, considered auspicious because of their red coloring.