Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Dead Man's Fingers

Image: James Lynott
Alcyonium digitatum
Someone's sleeping with the fishes...

Dead Man's Fingers is a colonial coral.

Image: James Lynott
Black Brittle Stars on Dead Man's Finger.
Now there's a title for you
It's found predominantly in the cool waters along the coast of northern Europe, though some extremists brave the heat of Portugal and others live a fair way up into the chill of Norway. There are also some who have somehow managed to find themselves in Canada and north-east United States.

Image: James Lynott
Evil Mer-people trap the souls of drowning sailors in solid rock.
Wherever a soul waits in anguish, a finger of coral reaches out for freedom 
They like to grow on solid, rocky foundation, or the occasional crab or snail shell, and they prefer a strong current.

Dead Man's Fingers grow as a collection of fleshy, finger-like lumps up to 25 cm (10 in) tall. They're variable in colour, from grey or white to orange or pink

Image: James Lynott
In the Death Temples of Atlantis, no-one can hear you scream
They're festooned with polyps - the citizens of the colony - each one armed with eight tentacles for capturing tiny prey.

When the polyps are open and feeding, the Dead Man's Fingers takes on a soft, disintegration look. A strange cross between the Vaseline-lensed visage of a movie starlet and a dead man's sea change.

Image: James Lynott
If the coral is disturbed, the polyps retract and the whole colony looks bumpy and leathery. That's probably why they put Vaseline on the camera lens.

Dead Man's Fingers become inactive in July. Over the next six months they get covered in algae and hydroids which give them a brown or reddish appearance. They use this time to develop their gonads and in December and January they finally release eggs and sperm into the water. Most colonies are either male or female, though there are a few hermaphrodites.

Video: Countryside Council for Wales
A not so ancient Mafia burial ground

Fertilised eggs become larvae which swim around for a day or two before settling down to start colonies of their own.

It will be at least two years before a new Dead Man's Fingers can reproduce, and some colonies can live for 20 years. That sounds like a long time for a body to go undiscovered, but I guess they are only fingers...

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Call Forth the Hallowe'en Horrors

It's Halloween! That time of year when we listen for the lifting of coffin lids with death, eavesdrop on the whispering chants of mournful forests with darkness and hear the lamentation of our enemies as we drive them before us and crush their women with evil. Woo!

Behold Death. He's taken up gardening. Or so he claims. I don't think he's supposed to bury the seeds 6 feet deep. And aren't you meant to take them off the tree first?

Here be Darkness. She's teaching the ghouls how to cook. It's quite easy because the ghouls eat raw meat but her three-tier offal cake with carved bone colonnade is quite a sight!

Yonder is Evil. He's dressed up in a long, white robe with a little cardboard halo fixed onto his head with a piece of wire. He does that every year but it's hilarious every time!
Let's see who joined the party this year!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Picasso Sponge 20

This Picasso Sponge depicts a zombie and a skeleton taking off their human-suits to enjoy Halloween.


Friday, 24 October 2014

The Blobs!

Check out this beautiful octopus! Is that a devil costume?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Strange Worm

Strange by name, strange by nature...

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Chinese Crocodile Lizard

Image: spacebirdy
Shinisaurus crocodilurus
Hey, look! It's a Chinese Crocodile Lizard!


He blinked!
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