Sunday 4 August 2013

Gelatinous Winged Feet

Can there be any doubt that the feet of the gods are both gelatinous and winged?

Certainly it's true of at least one of them - Hermes, messenger of the gods. You can see his winged sandals in all the pictures. They give him the speed he needs to run around really quickly and... stuff.

But what no-one in the world except me seems to realise is that his feet were surely gelatinous, too. Otherwise they'd hurt after running around in sandals all day. And he's a thief, so gelatinous feet would provide him with the soft footsteps required to get past the guards. Foolproof! Until Sherlock Holmes comes along and follows the gelatinous residue.

With the fall of Hermes there are almost no gelatinous, winged feet left in the world. The horror! We must appreciate what remains, the sons and daughters of Hermes, even if they only have one foot each.

It's the Pteropods and Heteropods!

They're all slugs and snails who have taken to a life swimming through the ocean, far above the sea floor that is the domain of their kith and kin. Instead of the sticky, mucus covered foot other gastropods use to get around, their foot is modified into fins that wave and flutter through the sea.

Sea Butterflies. Long and thin, short and stout

Pteropods are the ones who's foot is squished to make two fins. There are two kinds of Pteropod, and they aren't actually all that closely related.

The Sea Butterflies are lovely little snails that use a net of mucus to catch plankton. Then they eat their mucus and all the stuff that got stuck to it. So... yeah. I guess it's cool that they so adamantly identify with their gastropod heritage despite the lofty circles they now move in.

The other Pteropods are the Sea Angels. They don't have a shell and they aren't particularly angelic either.

Sea Angel

They eat Sea Butterflies!

Or should that be Sea Demon?


Some are ambush predators, others chase down their prey, but all use their radula to tear the poor Sea Butterfly from its shell. Sea Angels are experts in the kill and many are adapted to feed only on very specific species of Sea Butterfly. It's the wrong kind of angel!

Next, there are the Heteropods. There are three kinds and all swim using a foot that's squished into just one fin rather than two.


The Atlantids are teensy, microscopic things with a shell large enough for them to retract into. They use their large eyes to spot prey and a sucker on their fin to grab a firm hold of it. Their shell is thin and delicate but it still weighs them down so that they have to keep swimming to stop themselves sinking.

When they sleep, it's mucus time again! They exude a whole load of the stuff. Since it's less dense than water, it allows them to float as if attached to a ghastly hot air balloon.

Video: oceancontent

Then there are the Carinariids, or you might say they're Sea Elephants with a shell. They're much larger than the Atlantids and almost completely transparent. Their mouth is at the end of a long proboscis, which is why they're called Sea Elephants.

They swim upside down by waving their one large fin and spot prey with a good set of eyes. They have a strange, little shell and inside it is most of their vital organs.

Image: Roger R. Seapy
Sea Elephant
Last of all, it's my favourite! The terribly under-rated Sea Elephants! Some of them can reach 30 cm (a foot) long and they're wonderfully stream-lined and look extremely athletic and well-built for swimming. I don't think it's possible for a snail to look less like a snail!

They again swim upside down with their one fin and some of them have another fin on their tail for a burst of speed. They spot prey with their great eyesight and snatch it with their long proboscis. They have no shell, but all their innards are compressed into a tiny mass and everything else is completely transparent. Without a shell Sea Elephants are light enough to just relax in the sea if they want, without fear of sinking.

Image: Gustav Paulay
Them that Know, will See
Sea Elephants are among the weirdest, most wonderful and strangely beautiful lifeforms on earth. They should have crowns, jewels, temples... we should be offering them sacrifices. There should be mad people trying to communicate with them and understand their ancient wisdom.

They should have a feast day where we all paint ourselves transparent and march through the streets with a plastic proboscis attached to our faces. There should be conspiracy theories where the Illuminati seeks to cut off people's arms and replace them with fins in reverence to the Dark Sea Angel and in defiance of the Truth, the One Fin and the Sea Elephant.

Image: Gustav Paulay
Them that See, will Know
In 20 or 30 years, when aliens come across planet Earth and sift through the rubble of human civilization, they should stare at our architecture and art and conclude that the Sea Elephant was a mythological god who the humans thought was their creator.

But what do we have instead? Instead of this Truth, this Beauty, this Sea Elephant?

© Real Monstrosities, 2013. All rights reserved
We have nothing. The Sea Elephant suffers in obscurity and we all suffer along with it. There is something dreadfully wrong with a world that doesn't appreciate its Sea Elephants.



Sorry to get all philosophical, political and religious on you, those are all dinner party no-no's, but I just couldn't keep silent any more. The Sea Elephant is FAR TOO IMPORTANT!


  1. you always make me laugh. some of these creatures are very beautiful, even if a bit merciless in their eating.

  2. :D

    The way they eat is quite shocking!