Sunday 29 December 2013

Swim, Scallop! Swim!

Clap those crazy, crinkly-crisp lips like a fast forward Pac-Man in armour plate.

This guy just can't wait for 2014! Poor fellow ought to relax. He's tiring himself out.

Friday 27 December 2013

JAWS: Cuttlefish

Video: Alan McLennan
It happens to us all, doesn't it?

You've been eyeing that gigantic package under the Christmas tree for days, wondering what it might be and whether the biohazard warnings on the gift wrapping are decorative or not.

Finally the day comes. You tear the wrapping paper to shreds. You climb a step ladder and carefully ease open the cardboard box within, just in case your mysterious present turns out to be something rubbish like a giant teddy bear you'll have to pack up and sell.

But it's not a teddy bear. You gaze in wonder and your gaping mouth slowly assumes a smile as you begin to believe your eyes. Glory of glories. Can it really be?

A build-your-own secret, supervillain lair?

You look in amazement at the parts. The dungeons, deathtraps, vanity throne, wine bar with significantly more skulls and cages than strictly necessary... There are even signed contracts with catering and cleaning firms and one with a man called Caedis Khan who promises 3,000 live-in mercenaries from the NEX clan. You need only phone him up when their beds are ready.

You wipe the drool from your mouth, pick up a mighty wrench and wonder where to start. You don't bother looking at the instructions because people who look at instructions don't have supervillain lairs.

You were so excited. Your eyes were filled with death-rays and big, red death-buttons that glow in the dark. Your mind was filled with acts of super-villainy and an outrageous costume that was clearly evil but also glowed in the dark.

So you didn't stand a chance when a pair of tentacles shot out of the Christmas tree, grabbed hold of you and pulled you into its darkness. You didn't even have time to be surprised.

Such a shame. With a little more time, once you finished your secret, supervillain lair, that Christmas tree could have made for a great minion.

Wednesday 25 December 2013


Image: EricksonSmith
Can't talk. Eating.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Original image: Steve Childs
Nothing says Christmas like a grumpy Frogfish sitting around on his leg-fins, face cleaved by a magisterial frown while apathetic eyes BULGE with the sheer power of indifference. It's the very picture of festive merriment! And of course, his belly is so big he can almost eat himself so you won't have to suffer through a week of cold Christmas turkey.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday 20 December 2013

Indrella ampulla

Image: L. Shyamal
It's Santa Snail!

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Flame Scallop

Image: Tony Shih
Lima scabra
The sea, the sea, the sea is on fire!
We don't need no water 'cos... where would we put it?

Sunday 15 December 2013

The Trees Have Beards

Image: Richard Droker
Just in time for Christmas... free beards for all! They grow on trees, you know.

Friday 13 December 2013

Red-spotted Guard Crab

Image: Mark Rosenstein
Trapezia tigrina
Don't mess with the Red-spotted Guard Crab. You might catch something.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Sea Moth

Image: Klaus Steifel
This titchy fish is built like a TANK! It also comes armed with bat wings, wee little legs and a nose like the gun on a TANK!

Sunday 8 December 2013

Arums of Abhorrence

Image: sarah faulwetter
Good, ol' Arums! They're always there for you. What tropical bouquet would be complete without a few shiny Anthuriums bringing their deep red and pink colours to the mix? And if you want something more subdued and chaste then you need look no further than the beautiful arum lily. There's an arum for every occasion!

The Arum family is not famed for its Wolffia Duckweeds, the smallest flowering plants in the world, but they're exceedingly famous for containing the Titan Arum. That monstrosity can reach 3 metres (10 feet) tall but, as we have already learned, its close relatives are no less eye-catching for their smaller size!

Did you know that the arum lily is native to south Africa and is known as varkoor in Afrikaans? It translates to "pig's ear". So lets take a look at some more arums that make a pig's ear of it!

Friday 6 December 2013


Image: Kristi
Tut, tut. What an awful display of opulence! I've seen silver and pearl necklaces for pet pooches, but gold for your Osmylid? That's too much!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Florida Worm Lizard

Image: Mary Keim
Rhineura floridana
It's a worm but it's a lizard but it's a worm!

Sunday 1 December 2013

Vietnamese Mossy Frog

Image: Loïc Denès
Theloderma corticale
Camouflage is great. Sure, you have your poison. That's cool. Threat displays are good. Running really fast is nice if you're into that sort of thing. But camouflage? Sitting there doing nothing, watching the world go by like you're enjoying a contemplative day at a cafe because an honest day's work may be the death of you? That, ladies and gentlemen, is the life of a king.

Friday 29 November 2013

Golf Ball Sponge - A Trypophobe's Nightmare

Image: California Academy of Sciences
Holes! Holes in a thing! Some people really hate to see holes in a thing. It makes them feel uncomfortable and itchy and a little sick. For some people, holes in a thing is positively unholy. Oddly enough.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

When life gets you (upside) down...

When life gets you upside down...

Video: AA&NN

It's time to turn things around. It might be slow going, so slap on a bit of Mozart to get the blood flowing. Let those hectic, Classical beats bring power to your bones.

If you happen to have bones.


Thanks to Semaias for introducing me to this sweet video! Good job, Neil the snail. You're a STAR!

Sunday 24 November 2013

Wolffish and Wolf Eel

Image: Chad King (SIMoN / MBNMS)
Hey! Check out that great, big ugly fish with fearsome teeth glaring at us from deep within his dark, foreboding cave! Should we go over there and give him a hug? Why don't we see if we can't turn that angry snarl upside down!

Friday 22 November 2013

Epimeria oxicarinata

Image: WoRMS for SMEBD
It's Sonic the Amphipod!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Water Scavenger Beetle

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear... How can you expect to get anywhere in life with a face and body as repulsive as that? You look like a doom-laden carrot. How can a doom-laden carrot contribute to society? Stop looking like a doom-laden carrot!

Sunday 17 November 2013

Giant, Misshapen Penises

Image: James Gaither
Titan Arum, Amorphophallus Titanum
That's what you need when life gets you down: huge, colourful, misshapen penises. If we're lucky, they might even smell of rotting flesh and be covered in flies and beetles! Yaaay!

Friday 15 November 2013

T'ai chi Craze Takes Octopods By Storm

It's the new exercise regime everyone in the deep is talking about: t'ai chi, a Chinese martial art dating back centuries.

"It's great", says Gladys, a ten month old mother of 47. "It's so cold and dark down here that it's easy for your arms to stiffen up. That's a big problem when you have eight of them", she chuckles. "T'ai chi keeps me nimble and lithe, and it brightens my mood every time."

Video: oceanexplorergov
Gladys demonstrates the slow, graceful dance of t'ai chi

No-one knows for sure how t'ai chi found its way into the abyss but many believe it was introduced by Brian, the Giant Pacific Octopus who found fame in the 70's when he escaped Germany's Aquarium Berlin. His journey to the Atlantic Ocean is the stuff of legend, with his famous bucket of sea water resting on his trusty skateboard.

However it got here, t'ai chi seems set to stay. "I'll be doing this till the day I die", Gladys' chitinous beak beams a mischievous smile, "at least a month or two!"

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Tentacled Snake

Image: Josh More
Erpeton tentaculatum
A snake... TENTACLED?! Does it scurry across the floor like a scaly centipede on dozens of tentacle-legs? Does it grab hold of prey and squeeze the life out of it with dozens of tentacle-arms? Does it repeatedly inject venom by the gallon with dozens of hypodermic tentacle-fangs?

Sunday 10 November 2013

Flashlight Fish

Image: Randall, J.E.
The fish that turns the world upside down! Why put a whole load of eye shadow above your eyes when you can put a big splodge of eye light underneath them?

Friday 8 November 2013

Yellow Umbrella Slug

Image: Pablo Bou
Tylodina perversa
Someone needs to tell this chap it's too late for an umbrella once you live underwater.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Candy Crab

Image: David Rolla
Hoplophrys oatesi
Pear drops, lollipops and all a sweet tooth likes
Crunch 'em, munch 'em, chew 'em up
But be careful of the spikes!

Sunday 3 November 2013

Darwin's Bark Spider

Image: Matjaz Kuntner
The little monster with the world's most monstrously massive web!

Friday 1 November 2013

Lichen Katydid

Image: Andreas Kay
Markia hystrix
Spikes 'n' stripes!

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Happy Halloween!

Wishing everyone a googly-eyed Halloween!

Video: MBARI

Whether you want any other body parts to go with those peepers is of course, completely up to you.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Thrice-damned Hallowe'en Horrors

It's Hallowe'en! That time of year when we trip the light phantasmic with death, trip and fall with darkness and "accidentally" trip and fall while holding a knife inappropriately in a crowded area with evil. Woo!

Behold Death. He's trying out a clown costume this year. He's really enjoying the red wig. I've never seen anyone put so much hair gel on a wig before! He needed every drop to comb it into the shape of his own scythe. He says he might laminate it!

Here be Darkness. She's taken up baking cupcakes and brought some along for us to try. They're delicious! They practically stand up and walk right into my mouth of their own accord. In fact, the legs are my favourite bit!

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 take a look at some of the ghosts and ghouls who haunt our world all year round:

Friday 25 October 2013

Ice Cream Cone Worm

Image: Hans Hillewaert
Worm flavoured ice cream!

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Eastern Newt

Image: Ken-ichi Ueda
Notophthalmus viridescens
The Eastern Newt spends most its life not being orange. Which must be why it's so very orange while it has the chance.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Vampire Crab

Image: budak
The striking colours of evil at its starey-eyed cutest.

Friday 18 October 2013

Wrap-around Spider

Image: Robert Whyte
The Wrap-around Spider probably doesn't want to wrap its hairy self around your face! It was an accident and they take full responsibility for any distress which may have been caused.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

A Big, Yellow Larvacean!

Most Larvacea are tiny, almost entirely transparent and while they're found all over the world, the biggest, most obvious ones live in deep, Arctic waters.

This one is clad in the fluorescent colours of a highlighter pen!

Sunday 13 October 2013

Demon Stinger

Image Bernard DUPONT
This fish has stolen my heart! Probably eaten it, too.

Friday 11 October 2013

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Image: Kristi
Eucalyptus deglupta
Who needs flowers when you have a trunk like this?

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Pyura chilensis

The roads of Hell are paved in cobblestones which wail unceasing into the sulphuric night as demonic hooves and bestial paws crush them beneath their weight.

Should you visit the long, winding passages of that dread kingdom, be merciful, traveller. Never tarry, and let your steps be soft and swift for your boots pound the poor, suffering souls of the damned.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Wings of a Feather

Image: George Poinar Jr. & John T. Huber
Disney's Dumbo was a silly, little elephant who thought he could fly by means of a single feather. It's an understandable delusion, given his situation. He was raised by a mouse in a circus after his mother was deemed clinically insane. From an early age he was ostracised by his own kind, bullied, abused and forced to work a humiliating job which he hated.

No wonder the wretched cherub wanted to fly away.

Except that he could fly away. But not because of the feather. It was much more to do with his gigantic pair of ears and a peculiar cessation of reality and physics. Because all things are possible when you have truly gigantic ears.

But there are creatures out there who really can fly using nothing but a couple of feathers. They don't require a cessation of reality and they don't even need ears of any size whatsoever...


Friday 4 October 2013

A Shaggy Sea Cucumber!

Image: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010
Finally! A fuzzy Sea Cucumber you can cuddle!

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Climbing Gourami

Image: Brian Gratwicke
Not all fish out of water are created equal!

Sunday 29 September 2013

Common Cuttlefish

Image: Eric Burgers
Sepia officinalis
They call it the Common Cuttlefish but I don't think there's anything "common" about any cuttlefish. In the land of the weird, cuttlefish reign supreme.

Friday 27 September 2013

Sentinel Crab

Image: budak
It's the perfect guard dog...

Wednesday 25 September 2013


Image: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition
Who ever heard of a spook
With quite so much of a snoot?
It swims in the dark
It's called a Ghost Shark
And its face looks like an elf's boot

Sunday 22 September 2013

Giraffe Weevil

Image Frank Vassen
Trachelophorus giraffa
Forget the wide-eyed lemurs, grotesquely overweight trees and miniature chameleons who could live a full and eventful life clinging to a perm, the real majesty of Madagascar is in its Giraffe Weevils.

Friday 20 September 2013

JAWS: Bobbit Worm

Image: Ria Tan,
It's always a treat to catch up on the murderous antics of old friends!

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Moss Ball

Image: Nancy O
Some tribbles are no trouble at all!

Sunday 15 September 2013


Anoplogaster cornuta
If you heard "Fangtooth" and thought you were about to see a single fang, prepare to be disappointed. This is more like Fangface.

Friday 13 September 2013

15 Poison Dart Frogs

There are over 200 species of Poison Dart Frog found in South and Central America, each one advertising their stomach-curdling defences with bright colour and vivid pattern. Some, like the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog, have more than a dozen wildly differing morphs within the same species.

Here's but the slightest taste of aposematic colouration which duly caught my eye!

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Worm Snail

Image: California Academy of Sciences
Ahhh! Sometimes I just have to lie back and bask in nature's boundless capacity to be completely stationary!

Sunday 8 September 2013


Image: NOAA
The original Chimaera was a mythical Greek monster composed of a lion with a goat's head sticking out if its back and a snake instead of a tail. You have to admit, a goat's head on a lion's back is way more impressive than the ear on a mouse they did in that primitive age known as 1997. Those Greeks were way ahead of their time.

Friday 6 September 2013


Image: NOAA PMEL Vents Program
Proof that molluscs can worm with the best of them!

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Lace Bug

Image: Gilles San Martin
Look at this lovely Lace Bug! How could anyone hate something so pretty? You'll see!

Sunday 1 September 2013

Grimalditeuthis bonplandi

Image: MBARI
How the weak shall inherit the earth. Or at least the sea.