Tag Archives: sea 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

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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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

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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Filed under marine life, Phobia-inducing, the strange and the beautiful, Uncategorized

Yeti Crab; merchandising goldmine?

a fuzzy mollusk?

fuzzy wuzzy was a... crustacean?

In 2006, a group of marine biologists announced that they had discovered a new species of deep-sea crab; the so-called “yeti crab,” named for the abominable snowman of the Himalayas, earned its nickname because it sports legs covered with long, yellow hairs. 

Other preliminary nomenclature for Kiwa hirsuta included “Paris Crab” and  “Trump Lobster” but these names were speedily discarded after telegrams from said celebrities’ legal representation. Apparently, the association of their clients’ names with crabs was not desirable.

So, you might ask…what use do the Crabs have for such silky locks if they are not looking to become America’s next favorite reality T.V. star? The team that discovered the crabs saw them waving their hairy claws back and forth over warm hydrothermal vents, which led to massive bacterial colonies in their hairy appendages. The team speculates that the crabs might be intenionally cultivating the bacteria as a food source. 

While scientists were quick to deliver this bit of scientific trivia to the aforementioned legal representation, the fact does not appear to have made the yeti crabs any more appealing a mascot.  

The hairclub for men, however, having experienced a drop-off in sales due to the recent economic downturn, has recently entered negotiation with the scientists involved in studying these crabs. Speculation amongst those “in the know” is that they plan to utilize the yeti crab much the same way as Geico (tm) has used the talking gecko.  In exchange for merchandising rights, the hairclub will provide funding for further scientific studies.

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Sea Anemone

figure 1: the sea anemone, sublime and strange

figure 1: clustered sea anemones, sublime and strange

Sea anemones (order Actiniaria) are marine predators named after the terrestrial anemone (a member of the Buttercup family).  When we think of sea anemones, we typically recall their beauty, their stinging poison, and the symbiotic relationship of certain species with clownfish, which are immune to the anemone’s neurotoxin.

 The internal anatomy of  a sea anemone is fairly simple, but the exterior– particularly the waving, colorful tentacles– is famously alien and even sublime in appearance, as in figure 1, above.

 Yet life teaches us that  for every instance of the sublime on earth, there is a corresponding example of the profane, and the sea anemone aptly demonstrates this truth (see figure 2, below).

 

figure 3: the sea anemone, in all of its earthy profanity.

figure 2: the sea anemone, in all its profane glory.

 

Cf.   http://www.actiniaria.com/
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_anemone

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Lobster

 

"See... he's your Lobster!"

"He's her Lobster!!!"

 

I’d like to take a break from my organized, logical pursuit of truth in the animal kingdom to talk about something decidedly disorganized and illogical: Marriage. There can be no more appropriate object for today’s topic than Lobsters, which comprise family Nephropidae, sometimes also Homaridae, and are indisputably the most devoted lovers amongst marine crustaceans; “It’s a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life…You can actually see old lobster couples [walking] around their tank… holding claws.” Today is a day for celebrating  two lobsters who have decided to make it official:

to EW and PP, whom I love like family, felicitations on finding, keeping, and cherishing your lobster. I have no doubt that I will see you when you are old and spiny, still holding claws as you walk around your tank.

Much Love,

~sj

 

Cf. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyvRjF0NBeM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQQ8kXfn9Iw&feature=related

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