Sunday 30 September 2012

Sea Robin

Image: EricksonSmith via Flickr
Striped Sea Robin
Are those legs? They look like legs!
What do you get if you cross a fish with an insect?

Friday 28 September 2012

Unidentified Flying Jellyfish

Image: NEPTUNE Canada / CSSF
It's a jelly!

Thursday 27 September 2012

Vampire Squid Feeds on Filth!

Image: Richard E. Young
That's a mouth, that is
Turns out everyone's favourite blue-eyed beauty is a filth feeder!

The diet of this deep sea cephalopod has long been a mystery. Other squid, octopus and cuttlefish are predators of fish and crustaceans, but the Vampire Squid has always been perfectly comfortable being utterly unique.

They use their flabby body and slothful ways to survive in the incredibly low oxygen levels found at depths of 900 m (3,000 ft). Now, Henk-Jan Hoving and Bruce Robison from MBARI have discovered how they can eat without having to do all that tedious "moving" which we all find so exhausting.

Along with their 8 arms, Vampire Squid have a pair of thin, thread-like filaments that can be up to 8 times longer than their 30 cm (1 ft) body. Extending one of these out into the water, they allow it to get covered in the slowly descending precipitation of dead bodies, faeces and general muck known as marine snow.

Once covered in this unsavoury nastiness, the Vampire Squid draws the filament back in, uses mucus secreted by its suckers to bundle up the filth into a bite-sized morsel, and then eats it.

Basically, they're like Sea Cucumbers, except they don't eat it off the floor.

Finally! Now that you know their terrible defect and that they're not just a perfect bundle of gelatinous lovely, you can TRULY love them!

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Killing you softly. And slowly. And horribly.

So they got one of those tiny cameras that are making our lives a living, near-future nightmare, put it in a mussel and then had us all watch it watch itself get brutally consumed by a starfish.

Pretty darn sick. And a grim example of the horrors that lie beyond our limited scope. The horrors that are too slow, too fast or too small for us to grasp. Let alone the horrors we don't yet even recognise as horrors! 'Tis all horror! Horror all the way down!

Of course, we all know that some molluscs turn the tables on even the most vicious of starfish. Your death will be avenged! Slowly.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Water Flea

Image: Antonio Guillén
Water Fleas! Although I really want to call them Flying Belly Monsters.

Friday 21 September 2012

Sea Tulip

Image: richard ling via Flickr
Pyura spinifera
The Sea Tulip. Quite unlike actual tulips.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

The Horror of Friendly Spiders

Image: Spider Joe via Flickr
Not all spiders are arachnophobic!

Sunday 16 September 2012


Image: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010
More like Tadpolefish if you ask me. Who would've guessed that some of the deepest living fish in the world would look like a tadpole?

Friday 14 September 2012


Image: Wikipedia
Therea petiveriana
It may surprise you to learn that some cockroaches are quite handsome. They just aren't the ones who are attracted to that filthy pile of rotting debris you keep in your kitchen. That stinking hillock that had the police coming round after reports of a "suspicious smell". That putrefying mound that various wildlife agencies are trying to turn into a nature reserve because of its unique, endemic species and scientific interest. Some cockroaches just aren't into that sort of thing.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Sea Pen

Image: CW Ye via Flickr
The sea is terribly behind the times in some ways. Dictaphonefish, please.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Mushrooms From Hell: Stinkhorns

Image: eyeweed via Flickr
Aseroë rubra
We all know that Hell is piled high with fire, brimstone and solicitors, but who knew there were quite so many mushrooms down there?

Friday 7 September 2012

Breadcrumb Sponge

Image: WoRMS for SMEBD
Halichondria panicea
So popular they named it more than 50 times!

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Green Bomber

Image: Casey Dunn
Maybe it's all the unexploded bombs they keep finding round these parts. They come in with the tides, cause trouble at sea, or find a place in the household before someone eyes it suspiciously and says "wait a minute, that's no doorstop!"

Sunday 2 September 2012


Image: Nick Hobgood
Why'd you do it, Jimmy? Why'd you set fire to the orphanage and the puppy rescue centre and the soft-and-lovely-things factory? What are you? Some kind of pyromaniac?

No! I'm not a madman! I just... pyrosome.