Sunday 29 January 2012

Tiger Beetle

Image: Ted C. Macrae, Beetles in the Bush
Beautiful Tiger Beetle, Cicindela pulchra pulchra
Tiger Beetles! Fast, powerful and often incredibly beautiful so long as they aren't tearing you to bits. In fact, just like with actual tigers, you may have to grudgingly admit to their handsome good looks even as they send your limbs flying and teach you all about your own internal anatomy.

Friday 27 January 2012

Immortal Jellyfish

Image: Alvaro E. Migotto
Turritopsis nutricula is the Immortal Jellyfish. You might think that your gigantic brain makes you all great or whatever and maybe you can get it frozen after you're dead so that it can be uploaded into a robot in a million years but this here is the real deal.

Thursday 26 January 2012

California Horn Shark

Image: Chad King / SIMoN NOAA
While not initially impressive, this lovely little shark is a great example of the fascinating things you can find out when you really get down and study an animal.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Angel Shark

Image: Philippe Guillaume via Flickr
Sometimes it's good to be a land animal. Especially a reasonably sizeable one. Take the beach for example. We can go there and play in the sand, build our castles and frolic under the Sun in near total safety. Sure you might get sunburnt or find grains of sand in your hair for days to come, but you probably won't get eaten. I mean, imagine if you were just walking along the seaside and a massive patch of sand reared up, its rapacious mouth ablaze with hunger as it gobbled you up. That would be horrible!

Sunday 22 January 2012

Blanket Octopus

The air around here is growing increasingly chilly and I think a nice, warm blanket to hide under is called for. All sorts of animals have lovely fur you can make one out of, but you have to do all the work yourself. Unacceptable! There is a very strange answer to this problem, so long as you can tolerate your blanket being soaking wet. The Blanket Octopus has come to tuck you in. I hope she's brought some hot chocolate along, too.

Friday 20 January 2012

Lighthouse of the Desert

Rising forth from the mud and stone of the sea floor, an edifice strikes out at the darkness. Appearing as nothing more than a community of snowflakes, standing strong against black waters and crushing pressure.

There is snow, but it's marine snow. Crumbs from the top table that fall from sunlit realms, dragged downward by the night. There are stars, but they are brittle stars. A squirming handful of arms, each with a thousand feet. There are flowers, too, but they are sea lilies. Feathers held high on long stalks, like carnivorous palm trees waving in the breeze.

This tower is a home. Sparkling, white walls permit entry to the tiny. One couple will stay and grow too big to escape. A wedding, but a shrimp wedding. A home, but a living one. A crystal prison and a fortress against the wet, desert wasteland.

I'm Venus Flower Basket and I approve this message.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Land Planarian

Image: Wikimedia
When I first saw the words "Land Planarian" I thought it was some kind of tiny, desktop greenhouse. I imagined tiny gardens and tiny jungles, tiny fruit on tiny trees and tiny leaves adrift on tiny rivers. I imagined a miniature wonderland of lush foliage right there on the living room table.

But then I saw one.

Sunday 15 January 2012

The Blues

Image: Blake Matheson via Flickr
Are you depressed yet? It's coming on "Blue Monday", statistically the most depressing day of the year. So, if you're not mired in misery you are strange, abnormal and alone. Hopefully that thought will be the kick you need to join us in despair and relinquish any lingering happiness or contentment you may have. I'm here to serve!

Friday 13 January 2012

Western Red Colobus

Image: Wikipedia
Round my way, there's only one kind of racism that is still allowed. That's one group of people who you can openly despise and laugh at for no other reason than the lottery of birth. I'm not talking about the Welsh (or Scottish. Or French. Or German). I'm talking about the Ginger.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Grunt Sculpin

Image: NOAA's Fisheries Collection/David Csepp, NMFS/AKFSC/ABL
*SQUEAL!* Look at this cutie! It's absolutely adorable!

Sunday 8 January 2012

When Aliens Fall In Love - Jellyfish Lifecycle

From the pulsating bell to the shimmying tentacles, jellyfish have got to be some of the weirdest lifeforms our planet has to offer. Oral arms wave mindlessly around a central mouth while stinging cells puncture and poison without a thought. Not only does the jellyfish not even have to be alive for it to sting, but the stinging tentacles needn't be attached to the rest of the body at all. The futility of such endeavours is totally lost on them, as if they're more a force of nature than an animal. The sheer depth of their apparent mindlessness is quite amazing. It's like watching someone watching TV. Or, with all these reality shows, watching someone watching someone watching TV on the TV.

But no matter how strange a jellyfish may seem as it drifts in the ocean's currents, its life history is stranger still. Jellyfish really are weird from start to finish.

Saturday 7 January 2012

I am a MAJOR!

The lovely lady at has given me a MAJOR AWARD! Isn't it beautiful? I remember coming across her blog when I was looking up Vampire Squid. Oddly enough, I'd already written about that charismatic cutie so I guess I was just checking out what other people had to say. Little did I know that my travels would one day result in this most illustrious of events!

The Sun is right now rising and the very air at my window appears golden.

Friday 6 January 2012

Giant Club Sponge

Image: SERPENT Media Archive Project

Oh, wow! Who knew there was such a thing as a gay cactus? Nice to see it add a bit of light, pastel colour to all that gloom and grimnity.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Ping-pong Tree Sponge

Image: R Vrijenhoek, MBARI
So... it's a FLESH-EATING Sponge that looks like a tree that looks like it's covered in ping-pong balls? O. K. Yet again we find that the deep sea provides a surprising legitimacy to all kinds of madness. No doubt Elvis is doing battle with the risen Hitler down there, too.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Sally Lightfoot (Grapsus grapsus)

Image: ConstantineD via Flickr
Woo! You look HOT! You're on FIRE! I think this crab knows I'm looking! And she knows that I know that she knows I'm looking. And I know that I know that she knows that I know that she knows that those rocks know that we know that... I'm confused.

Sunday 1 January 2012

Sea Pig

Image: MBARI
You know what I find really weird about the Sea Pig? The translucence, sure. The tentacles, of course. The legs, most definitely. But the really weird thing is that it's a Sea Cucumber who has just enough extra body parts to look like some other, completely different animal who has lost a whole load of body parts.