Monday 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

Life is tough in the deep sea. Even Santa has to economise. There's not enough food to keep reindeer well fed, let alone towels to keep their fur dry. Sleighs have a habit of shattering under the pressure and poor old Santa has a tough time retaining his jolly, rotund figure.

And so, here's Santa the Whip-lash Squid dragging a sack of gifts in his own tentacle. Look closely and you can see a toy Alvin submersible and a whole lot of tuna. Thank goodness they don't ask for much, these denizens of the deep!

Mery Christmas everyone!

Sunday 10 December 2017

Iridescent Bark Mantis

Image: Frupus
Metallyticus splendidus
Iridescent Bark Mantis?

Or a cockroach dressed up for disco night?

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Liguus Tree Snail

Image: Rafy Rodriguez
Liguus virgineus
You don't have to take a dip in the ocean to be wowed by a beautiful gastropod.

Some of them are right there in the trees!

Friday 1 December 2017

Social Feather Duster Worm

Image: Nick Hobgood
Bispira brunnea
It's the cluster duster!

In my experience, feather dusters are often gregarious—I usually find them in packs of three or four, sometimes six—but the Social Feather Duster Worm puts those numbers to shame!

Wednesday 29 November 2017


Image: Bernard DUPONT
I hope you like legs...

Friday 17 November 2017

Cold Sea Balloon... OF DEATH!

It's a drawstring bag of death! It's a bin liner of doom!

No, it's... er...

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Cloak of the Vampire Squid

All other vampires are jealous of the Vampire Squid's beautiful, silky cloak.

Monday 13 November 2017

Namib Web-footed Gecko

Image: Matthias Neuhaus
Pachydactylus rangei
The Namib Web-footed Gecko is an adorable little lizard that isn't... all there.

Friday 10 November 2017

A Sponge is Never Alone

Image: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana
After that weird forest of sponges, I thought it would be nice to see the other side of the story.

That's right, soul-crushing loneliness! Like if you looked into the abyss and it didn't just look back, it grabbed you by the ankle, pulled you into itself and said, "Make yourself at home. If you can."

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Squat Urchin Shrimp

Image: Kevin Bryant
Gnathophylloides mineri
In the forest of spines, the teeny-tiny shrimp is king.

Monday 6 November 2017

Penis Worm

Image: University of Bristol
OK. Roll up your sleeves, put on your surgical gloves, prepare the censor bars. It's time for the Penis Worm.

No sniggering at the back!

Friday 3 November 2017

Granulated Starfish

Image: Samuel Chow
Choriaster granulatus
Get stuffed, teddy bear! Stay down, plushy dog! Off you hop, bunny wabbit!

There's a new soft toy in town. And he's all arms.

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Bunny Harvestman

Image: Andreas Kay
Metagryne bicolumnata
Don't worry, it's not a harvester of bunnies!

It's an adorable Harvestman with bunny ears!

Monday 30 October 2017

Seventh Seal of the Hallowe'en Horrors

It's Halloween! That time of year when we eat humble pie with death, eat a whole bottle of bitter pills with darkness and eat lead with evil. Woo!

Friday 27 October 2017

Don't Smell the Roses

Remember how hard-working, deep sea sponges look like satellite dishes and mouths-on-sticks?

It's important to note that that's just part of the story. Another part of the story involves the flowers... OF DEATH.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Forest of the Weird

Well, if you call it a Forest of the Weird you know my interest will be piqued. I love a weird forest. Whether it's a mushroom forest, a flesh-eating forest or a forest where all the trees wake up at night to dance in the moonlight, I'm all about weird forests.

So how about a nice underwater sponge forest? Yes, please!

Sunday 22 October 2017

Veils From the Crypt

Cryptic monsters... undercover horrors... sleeper creepers... From the monsters under the bed to the ghosts in the attic, the vampire on the board of directors to the werewolf in the historical reenactment society, there's no getting away from them. Is your paperboy a ghoul? Is your sister-in-law a zombie? Are you absolutely sure you're not a fish-person?

Wednesday 9 August 2017

March of the Firesocks

Firesocks! Sea Pickles! More to the point, Pyrosomes!

And a LOT of them.

Friday 14 July 2017

Divided Flatworm

Image: Zack
Pseudoceros dimidiatus
Is the Divided Flatworm really divided?

It's certainly indecisive...

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Bubble Gum Oasis

It's a Bubble Gum Coral!

Isn't it beautiful? Sort of? Underneath it all, maybe?

Wednesday 5 July 2017


Think grasshopper. Grass. Hopper.

Surely, anything called a Sandgroper is the complete opposite of anything that hops about in the grass? Just look at this thing! It looks like a termite mixed with a beetle grub! And if you find yourself thinking that it looks like a Mole Cricket with all the edges rubbed off, then you're not alone. A lot of people used to think that, they just turned out to be wrong, is all.

Sunday 2 July 2017


Image: Artur Pedziwilk
Iguana iguana
There are Marine Iguanas, Desert Iguanas, Land Iguanas and Rock Iguanas, but if anything can be called, quite simply, The Iguana, then this is it.

Friday 2 June 2017

Tube-building Amphipod


Looks like someone's got a leaky head. There're nightmares all over the place.

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Horror At Arms

Uh oh. Do you have a couch handy to hide behind? A teddy bear to cuddle? One of those Men In Black flashy things that make you forget everything you've just seen?

You might want one or two of these.

Friday 5 May 2017

I Wrote A Science Fiction Novel!

Can you believe that? I can't. And I watched myself write it.

It's called A Twinkle on Mars and it's about the first manned mission to Mars and how it all goes wrong. Aliens are involved, and giant glowing mushrooms. You've GOT to have giant glowing mushrooms.

It features Captain Cambridge, possibly the most heroic figure in the entirety of his own mind. Professor Prestwold, a delightful chap who doesn't know a life-threatening situation when it tries to bite his head off. Mr Blunderberry, a very large and very angry man. And Dr Khatagi. Not much is known about him but he's probably an assassin or something.

As you can probably imagine, this is not one of those hard sci-fi things where the author can (and sometimes does) write an essay about how every bit of technology depicted is totally possible given the current state of scientific knowledge.

It is, of course, a comedy. And a funny one, I reckon. Some people polish their every sentence to a poetic shine, I tried to make 'em all funny.

I've been working on it for a while but what really helped was when I started reading Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels for the first time a little over a year ago. They were the first books I ever read where I thought not only this is really good, but also I could probably do something a bit like this. And so I... did? Tried to but failed?

If you'd like to be the judge of that then head on to Amazon and give it a read. You might even consider reporting your findings in the form of a review, I hear they help.

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Twospot Turkeyfish

Image: Maupin Delphine
Dendrochirus biocellatus
It's a fish! It has two spots! And... turkey. Turkey is involved.

Makes perfect sense.

Monday 1 May 2017

Snot Living

Look at that beautiful house!

If you find yourself saying, "'s'not a house," then you're close. It's a snot house.

Friday 28 April 2017

Lamb's Ear

Image: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
Stachys byzantina
Did you ever hear of the mythical sheep-eating plant?

Well, it turns out there's one plant that's only in it for the ears...

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Fire Urchin

Image: Candace Pratt
Asthenosoma varium
The sea! The sea! The sea is on fire!

We don't need no water 'cos it evidently doesn't have the normally expected effect!

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Eyelashes Onna Stick

Image: NOAA Photo Library
Actinoscyphia sp.
The Venus Flytrap Anemone is 100% pure eyelashes!

Monday 3 April 2017

Mole Cricket

Image: Mark Yokoyama
You know how you shouldn't make a mountain out of a molehill?

Well, this might be your best opportunity to make a bonsai mountain that's even smaller than the average molehill! Just don't make a big mountain out of your little mountain.

Friday 31 March 2017

Tangled Tubeworm

Image: John Turnbull
Filograna implexa
Worms. Lots and lots of worms. Uncountable hundreds and thousands of worms all hanging out together in a home of their own making.

What would that look like?

Wednesday 15 March 2017


Image: NOAA
Chiroteuthis is MOSTLY tentacles. Glad to see they've got their priorities in order!

Monday 13 March 2017

Knitting Shrimp

Image: Moorea Biocode
Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just settling down for some knitting?

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Big World

It's a very big world...

For a very small pillow.

This tiny (or normal) version of the Giant Red Velvet Mite is just 3 mm long!

Monday 6 March 2017

Black Long-spined Sea Urchin

Image: Patrick Randall
It's the water hedgehog...


Thursday 2 March 2017

Unidentified Floating Object 2.0

Wow! Such light, such colour, such glorious delicate tentacles...

The space aliens really need to up their game if they don't want to be outdone by the UFOs of the sea!

Monday 27 February 2017

Satanic Devil Fish

I don't know what this actual demon from Hell thinks he's playing at...

But he's fooling no-one.

Friday 24 February 2017

Doto varaderoensis

Image: Linda Ianniello
I'm sure this sea slug is meant to avoid predators by using camouflage...

But I can't help but think that it avoids predators by looking contagious.

Thursday 23 February 2017

Fingered Dragonet

Image: Nick Hobgood
Tiny dragons can do a lot with a finger or two!

Monday 20 February 2017

Roughty-tufty Legs

Image: Aleksey Gnilenkov
Exoskeletons are pretty great; it's one of my favourite things about insects. Who can say no to your own custom-made suit of armour, precisely moulded to every contour of your body and available in a wide range of exciting colours to suit every taste?

Friday 17 February 2017

Chinese Lantern

Image: Isfugl
The Chinese Lantern is a hardy perennial that will provide you with all the natural, biodegradable paper lanterns you could ever want!

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Strawberry Squid

Histioteuthis heteropsis
You've seen werewolves versus vampires. You've marvelled at Alien versus Predator. You've wondered what on earth is going on at zombies versus Jane Austen. Now it's time to quake in your boots at the thought of...

Terminator versus Cthulhu!

Monday 13 February 2017


Image: Bernard DUPONT
It's a leaf.

A perfectly honest, perfectly innocent leaf, shivering in the wind.

Friday 10 February 2017

Fish-scale Gecko

Image: Arthur Anker
Look at those scales! It's not a mere suit of armour, it's a suit of shields!

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Warty Sea Star

Image: Ratha Grimes
Echinaster callosus
Oh, no! There's been a terrible accident in the biological waste bin.
The warts are alive. Repeat: the warts are alive!

Monday 6 February 2017

Deep Sea Dragonfish

Image: Fran Martín de la Sierra
My name is Deep Sea Dragonfish, eater of worlds.
Look on my face, ye Mighty, and despair!

Friday 3 February 2017


Image: David Iliff
Sarcodes sanguinea
In the months of spring, mysterious spikes of bloody flesh point to the sky.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Red-spotted Horseshoe

Image: Alfiero Brisotto
Protula tubularia
Surely, it's a peacock?

Monday 30 January 2017

Australian Hornet

Image: James Niland
Abispa ephippium
I get that wasps use bright colours to warn predators of their painful sting. It's a great way to ward off attacks without having to physically do anything, and everyone loves not having to physically do anything...

But surely this is just showing off?

Friday 27 January 2017

Shovel-nosed Salamander

Image: Todd Pierson
Desmognathus marmoratus

I think I would call it the People-eyed Salamander.