Category Archives: marine life

This little fishy went to market

Alright, dear readers, okay. the author has a soapbox to stand on and a bone to pick today: it has to do with fishing ethics and sustainability, and is remarkably un-funny (as opposed to the rest of BV’s posts which are , of course, hi-LAR-ious. ahem) . What does this have to do with the picture above you might ask? well, this photograph was published by the Guardian UK online on Saturday; it depicts a  Somali fisherman hauling his catch to market in Mogadishu.

Quite aside from the sheer visual impact of this photo, with the ruins in the background and  the somewhat blank expression on fisherman’s face, the photo is a visual reminder of the difference between fishing for sustenance–for survival– and for vanity, masking itself as tradition.

Let me backtrack a bit… ah… okay, yes.  Here we go: shark fishing is an important aspect of both commercial and artisanal fishing in Somalia, and studies have not yet shown how dramatically this practice may effect the population of hammerhead, grey, and mako sharks in the area.  Some would like to see even traditional shark fishing banned, in the interest of preservation. Truth be told, the author of BV has not done enough research to say whether she falls into this camp or not.

But she will say this; in comparison to the horrific commercial massacre of sharks that occurred in Somalia in 2008, in which thousands of sharks washed up on shore after having had their fins brutally lopped off by commercial fishermen,  the artisanal practice of going to sea in small outboard-motorized vessels, and hand-carrying one’s catch to market, at least seems to even the playing field a bit.  Would you want to trade places with this man? No. I she a damned sight more respectable than the consumers who like to consume shark fins because.. oh, why was that again? oh, yes, because it helps float their peckers and demonstrates their wealth?

The answer, dear readers, is YES.

Further reading: A grassroots organization in Hong-Kong Boycotts the traditional banquet dish of shark fin soup. HUZZAH for grassroots advocacy.

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Filed under animal imagery, human behavior, marine life, politics, Uncategorized

California Academy of sciences promises to let you watch

Another link to love, dear readers: California Academy of Sciences promises to let you watch the penguins “swim, flirt, nest, and relax” via its penguin-cam. You can also watch the tuxedoed charmers feed every day at 10:30am and 3:30pm. As she writes the author is watching them do… fuck all really.  But feeding time is something to see, and nicely coincides with the mandatory coffee and cookie breaktimes that the author of BV is petitioning congress to institute as a universal workplace practice in the U.S..  You’re welcome.

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Filed under academia, exceedingly cute, links to love, marine life, Uncategorized

Tiny animals make BV smile

The author has been remiss, and has neglected to deliver promised entries. Well, dear readers, that is changing, starting now, with a new link I love.

Hooray, tiny animals has all of the squishy cutsiepoo appeal that the author of BV secretly loves in an alarmingly pre-adolescent way. Enjoy, and return for more posts.

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Filed under baby animals, exceedingly cute, links to love, marine life, the strange and the beautiful, tiny animals, Uncategorized

Fried Egg Jellyfish… pass the Tabasco.

Well, this is another post inspired by the Discovery Channel series Life. Unfortunately, Dear Readers, while the Fried Egg jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatica) is strange and beautiful, it is also singularly boring. Terrible at cocktail parties.  Seriously. Even with the author of BV’s overactive imagination, she could find nothing more fascinating to write about about this behemouth  than the shape that its name implies. Which leaves her with nothing to say but pass the tabasco, and mind the tentacles.

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Red-Letter Day for Captive Dolphins

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist

 

It is a red-letter day, dear readers. For it was reported today that Chris Porter, infamous dolphin trader working out of the Solomon Islands, plans to release his last 17 captive bottlenose  dolphins to the wild. In a recent interview, Porter admitted that 

“I have a bad name. I have been deemed the Darth Vader of dolphins. But I have decided to release the remaining animals back to the wild. It’s driven by the incident with Tillikum and I’m disillusioned with the industry.” 

From the start, says Porter, he had the best interests of these animals at heart, believing that the animals he captured and trained would act as “embassadors” an aid in educational efforts. But according to an article in the Times ColonistPorter  “is beginning to doubt the value of shows, where animals are forced to perform tricks”…’Are we really educating and providing the best representation of wild animals in an aquarium,'” where the environment is artificial and they are forced to perform tricks? He asked in an interview. 

His own answer is now “no,” and the author of BV thinks it’s about damned time. Should you place the author in a tiny pool and force her to dance for her supper, you can bet this blogger would be dragging you into the depths as well. 

Porter’s former opponents are reserving judgement about his decision– not because they disagree with his sentiment, but because they would like to inspect the animals to ascertain their health and readiness to return to the wild. Porter promises, moreover, to continue to feed any of released dolphins who continue to return for feeding times. 

the trick now, dear readers, is to pray (in whatever form you prefer– the author of BV prefers interpretive dance, usually in the shower, accompanied by current guilty-pleasure pop music) That the locals will embrace the idea of eco-tourism over the practice of hunting dolphins for their teeth… and that Porter’s landmark change of heart will trigger a ripple effect– so to speak– in the hearts and minds of the ocean-going world at large. 

Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/technology/Darth%20Vader%20dolphins%20release%20bottlenose/2741326/story.html#ixzz0jm54wcyw

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Sea krait: love machine of the underwater world

If you are like the author, dear readers, you were inordinately excited by the release of the first installment of the “Life” series, a follow-up to “Planet Earth,” which aired on the  Discovery channel and its affiliates this sunday. And if you know the author at all (at all, I say), the three of you who read with any regularity (ahem) would immediately have recognized that the sea krait was destined to be the newest addition to the annals of BV.

Because it is impossible to ignore the single most prominent feature of these Hydrophiidae  : sea kraits Do. It. All. Day. Long. In more scientific terms, they “copulate. prodigiously. diurnally.” During which time the much smaller male is unable to disengage.

You read it right, dear readers. “Unable to disengage.”

No female sea kraits were available for comment (or their native reticence prevented them from kissing and telling), but we might imagine that this unique (ahem) situation has its benefits and its drawbacks:

 *First: the male is unable to claim fatigue and roll over before he gets the job done.  BUT:

*this leaves the female no option of… shall we say creative vocalization and a speedy retreat. NEVERTHELESS:

*there is no need for the female to long for just a bit more post-coital cuddling, AND

* she has no need to wonder if he’s going to call again. After all, dear readers, she  knew he was a snake when she picked him up.

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Filed under folklore, marine life, Phobia-inducing, rated NC17, the strange and the beautiful

Giant Shark: P. mortoni Discovered in Kansas

Scientists recently discovered a gigantic jawbone, teeth and scales, which, along with being a breakthough for the scientific community in general, also has personal significance for one of the author of BV’s ex boyfriends, if the lead scientest’s descriptions are to be trusted. This predator (ahem), a “sluggish bottom-dwelling shark” (ah, ahem) has long been recognized by the scientific community, but it’s size, in an ironic change of pace for most men, was actually underestimated. Ahem. Dr Kenshu Shimada of DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, discovered the fossilized remains of P. mortoni in the Fort Hays Limestone in Kansas. According to Shimada, “Kansas back then was smack in the middle of an inland sea known as the Western Interior Seaway that extended in a north-south direction across North America.” Representatives from Kansas have had the following response to the news: “Damn, you mean if I’d lived here a million years ago, I could have had an oceanfront property?” Shimada and his team attribute the extinction of this massive creature to the same environmental factors that killed the dinosaurs- including the shrinking of this giant inland sea. But the author of BV knows better, dear readers. If it wasn’t a disgruntled ex girlfriend, it was the diminishing real estate prices that killed ‘em.

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Filed under extinct species, human behavior, marine life, Uncategorized

Stars of our Stars:

Today, the author of BV would like you to contemplate the fact that there are stars beneath the ocean, glowing in shades of blue and red and green, constellations of… well, of jelly actually. But enough for the waxing poetic: turn your attention to these glowing beauties, and ask yourself: need all aliens come from above?

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You’d be Prickly, too

A rare Prickly shark ( Echinorhinus cookei) was recently “found” and displayed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, quite the coup for the eager grad student type who “found” the shark.

The shark was  “collected” in an area where the Monterey Bay Aquarium Supported research, by the unnamed graduate student (sorry, chum), who was documenting  daily migrations of prickly sharks from the deep waters of the canyon to the shallows of the canyon head where the specimen in question was… “collected” and quickly put on display at the aquarium.  

But as of the writing of this post, the Prickly predator has been returned to the wild, because after a mere 15 hours in captivity, staff scientists at the Monterey Bay aquarium noticed that the shark “appeared too bouyant to swim easily.”

The scientists tagged the prickly (and, apparently, gassy) shark, normally seen only in very deep waters,  before releasing him in waters about 250 ft deep.  They watched him swim off, clearly headed back for the deeper waters of the pacific rim.

Reports have yet to be confirmed, but some witnesses swear that they saw the shark flipping those scientists the bird as he swam out into deeper waters.*  

 

*please note: the author of BV is in favor of any and all humane efforts to learn more about the life in our oceans, and understands that the scientists’ intentions were pure. Nevertheless, she empathizes with the shark, who was kidnapped, stuck in a  tank, made a mini-media spectacle, and sent home all in the span of a day. As the title suggests, after this kind of Wednesday, you’d probably be prickly, too.

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Echeneis: stubborn little bastard of a fish.

img5125

Isidore of Seville, who is, let’s face it, quite the hero for BV, named it the “delay,” for obvious reasons In the 1st century CE, Lucan wrote of it as  “…the sucking fish / Which holds the vessel back though eastern winds.” 

This little sucker was the echeneis, a small fish no more than six inches in length, which made its home in the Indian Ocean, and is said to have clung to ships and delayed their passage. When this fish latches on to a seagoing vessel, the most Shakespearean of gusts or invocations thereof would not move the ship, which would seemed to have become rooted to a fixed point in the roiling sea.

This fish, dear readers, reminds me of someone… another stubborn little bastard. Who could it be? ah, well. It’ll come to me…

In any case, Pliny the Elder elaborated, noting that it is used for making love-charms, and spells to slow litigation, and that it can be used to hold back the birth of a pre-term fetus until term. “This fish” says Pliny,  “is not eaten.”  “Some say,” says Pliny,” that “this fish has feet.” Pliny is loathe to believe this last tidbit. It’s not particularly that the presence of feet is more far fetched than the efficacy of its presence in charms and spells, but simply that “Aristotle says it does not.” And it’s simply quite gauche to argue with Aristotle—at least, it was in the 1st century.

AHA! I remember now: who could resemble an impedance to progress impervious to either reason or pathos?

Why, it’s the author’s writer’s block, of course- her worst enemy while adrift in the rough seas of dissertation.

 

yes, it’s one of those days folks. Send the life rafts… And mind the echeneis.

 

 

 
 

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Filed under academia, extinct species, folklore, marine life, medieval, Phobia-inducing, Uncategorized

Humanatee: A dying breed

seen here without a school, this humanatee may never find a home

The humanatee is an ancient, intelligent beast, most often found in large “schools,” though members of far-flung schools frequently gather together in large, gregarious groups called “conferences.” During these  sporadic expeditions, humanatees may demonstrate dominance by flashing the “TT” position. These strange creatures then show off to potential mates by uttering strange, unintelligible  sounds in rapid succession.

Infighting and promiscuous behavior is not uncommon in conferences.

But dear readers, the humanatee, contrary to appearances, is not its own worst enemy. The humanatee is among our worlds most endangered species, and though abundant, is seriously threatened by the rough economic waters currently plaguing our shores and those the world over. Worse, funding for conservation programs has recently been cut dramatically, leading some experts to wonders whether there is adequate habitat  in today’s academe for the humanatees.*

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Filed under academia, endangered species, exceedingly cute, human behavior, marine life, Phobia-inducing, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

Interactive Penguin Cam: time waster extraordinaire

050819_penguins1

 

Finaly, dear readers, an un-ironic post. The link below takes you to National geographic’s interactive program, which allows you to build, attach, and follow a “penguin cam’ under the ice in the Antarctic. You can follow this link to other animals as well- enjoy!

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/crittercam/ax/ff_penguin.html

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Killer Whale eats Pelican. Sea World goes “reality”

 

This video asserts the indominatble power of natural instinct over conditioning.

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AMAZING Dolphin behavior

dolphins-bottlenose

It is rare that the author of BV allows something to go (almost) entirely without commentary. This video, however, needs no snark; it is amazing, and stands easily on its own. A big thanks goes out to AVB for bringing this video to my attention: Thanks, Amy.

 

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Man-eating catfish. It’s what’s for dinner.

When British biologist Jeremy Wade finally investigated a 20-year history of fatal attacks in the Great Kali River between India and Nepal, he discovered that the local legend of a giant river monster devouring folks who went in the water (like one 18-year-old boy who was dragged down into the river by a creature “resembling an elongated pig”) was not far from true.

Was it a crocodile? No. Frankly, being killed by a crocodile would have a bit more gravitas, and read a bit less like a B horror flick. What  Wade found when he waded in the water were very large, very hungry goonch catfish (Bagarius yarelli).
Catfish, though one of many aquatic scavengers, are not known to be one of homo sapiens sapiens’s more dangerous predators. So what explains this strange behavior? It all has to do with Hindu funeral rites, and folks, it’s not pretty.
According to Hindu custom, the dearly departeds of those living near the Great Kali river are typically burnt on a funeral pyre, after which the charred remains are often tipped into the river. Where they are eaten by catfish. Again, what this sad story lacks in dignity, it makes up for in anticlimactic absurdity.
Nourished on the macabre feast of funeral pyre “leftovers,” the catfish have grown far beyond their normal size, and have learned not to wait for their food to be conveniently delivered in its cooked state- they go after their meat when it is still, so to speak, “on the hoof.”  

The author of BV would like to hereby encourage the Indian and Nepali neighbors of the Great Kali River to consider the American south, which boasts many lovely preparations of catfish: blackened, fried, and in a po’ boy, to name only a few.

Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it fishy fishy?

 

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