senoritafish: (That's Ms. señoritafish to you!)
Nifty! Forwarded by a co-worker.

The brownsnout spookfish has been known for 120 years, but no live specimen had ever been captured.

Last year, one was caught off Tonga, by scientists from Tuebingen University, Germany.

Tests confirmed *the fish is the first vertebrate known to have developed mirrors to focus light into its eyes,* the team reports in Current Biology. "In nearly 500 million years of vertebrate evolution, and many thousands of vertebrate species living and dead, this is the only one known to have solved the fundamental optical problem faced by all eyes - how to make an image - using a mirror," said Professor Julian Partridge, of Bristol University, who conducted the tests.

See here for more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7815540.stm


Very cool - this is one of those fish that I've only been aware of as a line drawing in a Peterson's Field Guide and wondering what they were actually like. And to have seen one actually alive must have been something.
senoritafish: (That's Ms. señoritafish to you!)
Our scientific aide brought in a couple of nifty fish Friday, taken in a purse seine. One of them was a sarcastic fringehead. I won't post the pic taken of it as it was pretty beaten up, but I did post about them once before about four years ago; I especially like Dr. Love's quote about them.

Here's little portrait I took of one at the Cabrillo Aquarium in San Pedro. He wasn't being particularly cantankerous, and behaved for having his picture taken. By the way, the orange thing in the background is a warty sea cucumber.

PICT0246

Worth redirecting your attention to is what they do with those enormous jaws (click to view video clips).

The other fish was a northern spearnose poacher. Poachers are a family of small fish whose scales are fused together into bony plates. They live on the bottom, sometimes in very deep water, and feed on small crustaceans and worms, pulling themselves around with their pectoral fins. I think you can tell where the name "spearnose" comes from, although "spear" is a bit of an exaggeration.

Northern spearnose poacher
senoritafish: (dreams on a 'chovie can)
From Divebums Photos of the Week - this is a fascinating little video of an octopus taken down in La Jolla. While it may not be "walking" bipedally quite as definitely at the octies in the videos that made the internet rounds a couple of years ago, it's pretty interesting to watch. Very shortly in, it comes to rest and forms white "eye-spots" below its own eyes and a dark horizontal bar that makes it look very much like the head of a sculpin or a sarcastic fringehead (an agressive little fish that lives in burrows, shelss or sometimes bottles with its head sticking out). It does the fish imitation several times in the video. Although I can't quite figure out what (or if) it's imitating by holding two arms aloft while moving around...

http://week.divebums.com/2008/May27-2008/

(Video all the way down at the bottom, last on the list)

I feel a little sorry for this guy, who's having a hard time escaping the persistant diver-with-video-camera!
senoritafish: (That's Ms. señoritafish to you!)
Getting to be that season - if you live in southern to central CA and are interested in particpating in a bit of Citizen Science, why not volunteer to be a Grunion Greeter? Workshops are coming up (oops, some are this coming week!), so go to:

www.grunion.org

and sign up for a workshop near you. They give out a small reward for a minimum number of nights (last year it was a cool beach towel), but you have to have attended a workshop to receive it.

(I can't believe I didn't already have a grunion tag)
senoritafish: (curlicue fish)
Not that they have calendars or anything...

http://campaign-archive.com/archive.phtml?cid=4Jv4Dp0dtA&rid=odrKc0liOu

(recieved from the TOPP research group)

Sharks!

Jul. 29th, 2007 12:00 pm
senoritafish: (Do the Aquaman Butt-Dance!)
955

After a soak of about three hours, the set is hauled. A small mako coming up on the line - the line across the top is the mainline; the shark is hooked on the gangion. As the line comes in at the side, the gangions are taken off, and hooked sharks are walked to the stern where the scientists tag tag them.

...And I got to help tag today! Whee! )
senoritafish: (Sesshomaru and Inuyasha)
(The following bit of fluffy insanity was written several months ago after an Inuyasha movie marathon and waaay too much coffee.  Forgive me.) 


Indulge me if I go off on some Inuyasha musings. Inuyasha, being an anime series about a modern-day girl who falls down a well to find herself in feudal Japan and the companion of a long-haired boy who, strangely enough, has dog ears (go here, for the unfamiliar curious). This post is not about the girl.

Yeah, I know, I keep hearing it's a tired series, it's gone on too long, it's repeating itself, the ending of the anime is frustrating (the story is supposed to continue in the manga).  I actually missed quite a few of the last airings because I never remembered when it was on, and frankly one fight with an evil demon is much the same as another (and does anyone else besides me feel faintly embarassed that every anime character has to scream out really silly attack names during a fight?).  However, it generates some wonderful fanart, and just recently a couple of wonderfully written stories by a fanfiction author who calls herself "Resmiranda" have made it difficult for me to get "stupid, stupid, pretty hair" out of my head recently (although perhaps that's a topic for another post).  The airing of the third movie on CN didn't help much either.  Entirely too little of their father in it, dammit.

 Anyhow...

Pondering # 1: Demon toughness... )

Pondering #2: Dogs...all-powerful? )

Pondering #3: Does Sesshomaru smell doggy? )

Pondering #4: The color of his stripes...or placement, rather... )

Pondering #5: Hybrid vigor...or not... )

0__o

;)

XD
senoritafish: (That's Ms. señoritafish to you!)
Wow, two really cool fish from a couple of weeks ago (and one extra from awhile ago).

oarfish )

slender snipefish )

flying fish )
senoritafish: (Shiny!)
The Biology of B-Movie Monsters
http://fathom.lib.uchicago.edu/2/21701757/

I love weird creatures in my fantasy and science fiction, but it's also fun figuring out whether they would actually work. Granted, most of the B-movies mentioned are fun just because they're so implausible. Was E.T. really a B-movie, though? It got nominated for several Academy awards, didn't it? I'd think it a little too warm and fuzzy to fit the category - unless the criteria is merely having a strange creature in it.

Very fun video! Wizard Needs Food Badly!



(or iTunes podcast, Channel Frederator, ep. 36)
The video is the second one in the podcast, starts at minute 7:50, (after Dan Danger, which may look familiar to anyone who's seen Fairly OddParents, same animator).

I've had this damn thing on my 'pod since late June and hadn't gotten around to watching it. The animation is done by the same people who do the Esurance commercials, which have always reminded me of Samurai Jack. Nice surprise - I especially like the song; the lyrics could be talking about a few guys (and not a few gals) we've all known like that (it could also have described my mother and I), and the video's brother/sister rivalry reminds me a little of my own. My kids have asked to see it so much, I'm in danger of getting tired of it; and I keep hearing Angus going around singing the chorus. ^_^ The title is a reference to the 80's arcade game Gauntlet, which I remember playing quite a bit back in the day, although I never got very far in it.

Lyrics.. )

I found out since that the band, Five Iron Frenzy, is (or rather was - they've retired as a band) a Christian band, although it sounds like not all of their music is overtly such - it's not even mentioned much on their website, and the above song certainly isn't. This gave me pause for a moment, but if I enjoy Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around, the occasional bit of gospel music, Gregorian chants, and the sometime bits of religious imagery that show up in Neil Finn's music, plus whatever other music in the world that may be influenced by whatever culture/religion it has as a background, a little ska by such a band should be ok. And true to form, another band I discover after they're defunct...
senoritafish: (dreams on a 'chovie can)
Haven't had time to read the entire article (or set of articles) yet in New Scientist, but it looks fascinating....

Pictures
http://www.newscientist.com/channel/earth/deep-sea/mg19125603.900-unseen-oceans-revelations-from-the-abyss.html

Special report
http://www.newscientist.com/channel/earth/deep-sea

Unfortunately, to read many of the articles linked to, it looks like you have to buy a subscription to the magazine. A worthy magazine, I'm sure, but I'm not subscribing to anything right now. Poop.
senoritafish: (multitasking (doing the dishes))
At the high school I walk past to my bus stop on the way to work, there are a couple of special education buses that stop right about the time I walk by. One Asian girl waves at me and giggles every time I walk by; sometimes she looks as if she would run right up and give me a hug, if her teacher weren't there. She usually has a pink Hello Kitty backpack, but this week it changed to Strawberry Shortcake. She also had a new lime green purse she patted to show me today. Her teacher asked me the other day where I was always walking to; when I told her where I work, she wasn't aware we had an office in the area. Well, it is two miles down the road.

Grrr! There were creationists handing out flyers and bookmarks at both ends of the high school. One had his little kids with him handing them out; I took one look at the title and handed it back to him, saying "I don't need this," and kept walking. I didn't read any further than "Questions to ask Evolutionists" - however, now I'm thinking maybe I should have kept it so I can answer them intelligently. I tend to avoid debates like this, because I get flustered and wind up looking like an idiot. Never mind - these pages probably about covers them...
senoritafish: (Default)
A co-worker in the San Diego area let us know about this project, and it sounds like fun; so I signed John and I up for a workshop to be "Grunion Greeters."

http://www.grunion.org

Basically, it's just going down to the beach during a spring tide (highest high tide - occurs at the full and dark of the moon) at night, watching grunion washing up on the beach to lay their eggs in the sand, and collecting some basic data about them, which hopefully will eventually be used in a biomass assessment. My boss and co-worker have been involved with it for several years - why didn't they tell us sooner?

Today is the last day to RSVP for the Cabrillo Aquarium workshop on Friday at 8 pm (San Pedro), if anyone here in my area is interested; all the workshops are here. Some of them have already happened though.

What the heck is a grunion, you ask? Some people think they're the Southern California version of a snipe hunt, but they do actually exist. So do snipe, for that matter...

http://arachnid.pepperdine.edu/grunion/media/slideshow.htm

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/grnindx3.html
senoritafish: (dreams on a 'chovie can)
I heard about this on the radio yesterday, and of course trusty people at [livejournal.com profile] invertebrates found a link.

http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=143&art_id=qw1141765922171B216

A new species (actually a whole new family) of crustacean; it sort of resembles the deep-water squat lobsters we've found in spot prawn traps.
senoritafish: (...to you too buddy...)
Arrgh! The dinosaurs in Cabezon have converted. And did you know there were baby dinosaurs on the ark?

This article was mentioned at lunch yesterday and VT brought it in for me today.

I've driven by here countless times but have never stopped there. It's on Highway 10, between Beaumont, where Beth used to live, and Palm Springs. Doubtful I ever will stop there, now. Makes me feel a little ill. You know, I don't follow a religion now, but even in the one I was raised in, it was the spiritual world that mattered. Not the material one. Evolution was not an issue because it was part of the material world. It also did not advocate forcing your views on everyone surrounding you, because they stopped for a coke and a potty break in the middle of the desert.

Faith is not science. They don't follow the same rules. Science does not work by just believing in something. It requires proof.

"And it's not like they're crying, 'Oh, mommy, take me out, I'm scared.' They're drawn to (dinosaurs)" Chiles said. "There's something in their DNA that knows man walked with these creatures on Earth."

*retch* DNA doesn't know anything. It's a molecule that's found a very good way to replicate itself. Sometimes it accidentally gets changed along the way. If the change doesn't kill the cell containing it, it replicates and forms more cells. I'm not sure why a creationist even acknowledges DNA actually exists, when it's the very vehicle evolution runs on. I suppose he thinks it makes him sound more credible - to people who are impressed by throwing scientific acronyms around. Think he even knows what the letters stand for?

Grrrr.

article )

Grrr. The cafe there was featured on the Road Food section of NPR's the Splendid Table a few years and rated very highly on their pie. I'll bet it sucks now.
senoritafish: (That's Ms. señoritafish to you!)
Haven't posted a new fish in a while. DP found this in a load of sardines. She was thinking it was odd since it was so truncated, with those strange round fins, and that there was only one of them - small squid are often in schools.


Taken by Dianna Porzio.

This view is actually the ventral surface; you can see its siphon, which it uses for jet propulsion and for digging holes to bury itself, along with the rounded fins for slower movement.

We did not know what it was immediately, but as I was staring at my screen, cogitating, I remembered hearing the name "stubby squid" and did a search on it. Where I first heard it, I don't remember - maybe somewhere in [livejournal.com profile] molluscious? - but lo and behold, this was one of the first sites to pop up:

Cephalopod Page: Rossia pacifica

They are also called bobtail squid, and really are more related to cuttlefish. The reason there was only one is they are fairly solitary. They range from southern California around the rim of the Pacific to Japan. They are, surprisingly, found in highly polluted bottom sediments like the Tacoma and Seattle harbors.

other images of live ones... )

These little guys are so cute! I would love to see some live ones at some point.
senoritafish: (Grrrrr!)
Pressure is on to lift whaling ban.
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18625043.900

Given their track record with quite few of their other fisheries, I'd say the Japanese don't have a leg to stand on. Not only that, but the articles example of the taking of other large mammals is not comparable. I can't think of a single large mammal that is still taken on a commercial basis, for profit, as they are intending. Large terrestrial animals are taken mostly on an individual basis by individuals, who pay a great deal of money in fees and in other costs, and often permits are only issued by lottery.

Even commercial fishing of species such as sharks recently has come under a critical eye because they just don't reproduce themselves enough- this state does not allow landings by longliners fishing within the EEZ because of the bycatch of blue sharks. If sharks can't stand commercial fishing, what does that say for whales, whose reproductive capacity is a lot lower?

I don't see how it could possibly be profitable unless whale meat were sold at a comparable price to, say, precious metals? And no, [livejournal.com profile] cixel, I don't think they're amenable to breeding by humans.
senoritafish: (Heart fish)
If you're a member of Pharyngula, you can just scroll on past this entry.

For those who aren't, this is an absolutely lovely bit of science writing, on par with Rachel Carson or the Carls (Sagan or Safina), in my humble opinion.

Oh, and an ode to sea hares. I love sea hares. Look, they're in my interest list No, they're not - nudibranchs, but not opisthobranchs....how'd I miss that?
senoritafish: (dreams on a 'chovie can)
Something I meant to write about a while ago - Animal Planet had a special on about a month ago - Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real. I thought it was pretty interesting. It was done as a sort of fictional documentary, with the premise of scientists finding a frozen dragon in a glacier, and how they would go about studying such a creature. It also looked at dragons in real history - almost every human culture seems to have some kind of dragon mythology. What if they actually did exist?

The makers consulted with biologists and paleontologists about how dragons would work if they had, and used the same animation that they've used previously for dinosaurs. The result was a fairly realistic-seeming animal. A complaint I heard before it aired was that the animators had made the dragon's wings too small for them to actually fly; this was explained by showing the discovery of internal air sacs which held hydrogen gas, produced by bacteria used in digestion and a chemical reaction involving the chewing of platinum-bearing ores (sounds like somebody on the team had been reading Anne McCaffrey, although her dragons used phosphorous, I think).

They also came up with two different lineages, although both were based on a dinosaur ancestor (I think); the bipedal dragons, whose forelimbs formed their wings, and the quadrupedal dragons (two pairs of legs and a pair of wings) who evolved later from a sea-dwelling animal. Although aesthetically I prefer the look of the latter type of dragon, I had a harder time buying it; only because every vertebrate existing now is based on a pattern of four limbs. Between my Mammology and my Comparative Vertebrate Physiology classes, I can't think of one that isn't. Put it on another planet, where evolution followed another path, and maybe I'll buy it. However, then I'd have to kick that suspension of disbelief into gear, since evolution somewhere else is likely to follow a completely different course - and resemblance to anything terrestrial is unlikely. What, SOD is already engaged? Oh well, no biggie, then...

(edit: further exploration of their website revealed this inspiration for a pair of extra limbs, although it seems a little simplistic:
Extra Limbs
Fantasy Fact: Dragons were six-limbed creatures as a result of genetic mutation.
Scientific Inspiration: All land vertebrates have two pairs of limbs — arms, legs, wings or flippers. Some amphibians and reptiles may have fewer than four limbs, but even these show the full complement in their embryonic or larval stages. No modern vertebrate has more than four.

Flies have a single pair of wings. In the fruit fly (Drosophila), a single genetic mutation in a gene called ultrabithorax (Ubx) acts in the cells of the third thoracic segment to produce a second pair of wings from what would have been a pair of knoblike balancing organs. Flies carrying the mutated Ubx gene, therefore, have four wings.

A number of genes are known to control developmental processes by regulating other genes. Some of these are called homeobox, or Hox, genes, and it is theoretically possible that mutated Hox genes in vertebrates could produce a supplementary pair of limbs. This might explain how dragons came to have two pairs of legs and a pair of wings
.

However, if I remember my entomology correctly, all insects have four wings. A fly's second pair of wings however, have morphed into to the balancing organs that give them such great control over their flight, so it's not such a stretch for them to mutate back into functioning wings. Vertebrates are occasionally born with extra limbs, but usually they would be a hindrance rather than an advantage, and thus not be passed on to offspring. If they did, however...hmmm.)

According to the narrative, dragons existed until as recently as feudal Europe. The conclusion of the show follows a rare female Mountain dragon through mating (after the fashion of eagles), keeping her egg warm,and raising her daughter, until both are slain by the local short-sighted, territorial human protecting the livestock. A sad end to a magnificent, if mythological species, and too like the history of many real creatures.

It helped that Patrick Stewart did the narration. I would watch a documentary on rocks growing if he narrated it.
senoritafish: (Default)
A few weeks ago, DP found a juvenile squid in a load of Loligo, and managed to get it to someone at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History who specializes in squid. She finally heard back from him today (after some prodding), with an ID: it was a juvenile Moroteuthis robusta, a robust clubhook squid, and especially interesting because there were none in their collection that were that small - the mantle of this one was only about three inches long, and these guys have been found washed up on the shore up to 9 feet long. If I could only find my pictures from when I was a foreign fisheries observer - I think this must be the three foot squid we used to get in hake trawls, as one of the descriptions says something about longitudinal ridges on the mantle.

I was trying to find some pictures of a live one, by Googling the scientific name, and imagine my suprise when this little story popped up.

boys! grow giant squid in your bathtubs!

[livejournal.com profile] megthelegend,you should recognize the site as you pointed me there first. I spent a few happy hours there when LJ broke down completely a couple of months ago. I have no idea what Bruno and Boots is, but a delightful, slightly slashy story nonetheless.
senoritafish: (That's Ms. señoritafish to you!)
This article (or rather answer to a question) in New Scientist brought back some memories for me.

When I attended Queensland University as an exchange student, I took an entomology course. I had always wanted to take one as an undergrad, since insects interest me at least as much as marine critters, but could never fit it into my schedule. It was quite a fascinating class, with a lot of emphasis on controlling insects in agriculture. There was a lot of classroom discussion, which got interesting when it touched on evolution as there were several creationists in the class (i.e: "I can't buy evolution because it's just too far fetched that two animals with the same mutation could come about at the same time, find each other and mate." *Rolls eyes* Honestly, how did that person get as far as they did in biology without learning you only need one to pass on a characteristic!) It was also interesting in that our grade was based entirely on a paper and an oral final, which the instructor quite rightly insisted was more like real life.

The first day of class he told us that insect annually consume something like 30% of all stored product, and if that could be stopped, world hunger might end. I believe I remarked that if the percentage was that high, we ought to be finding a way to be eating more bugs (C'mon, if we can make tofu taste edible, we should be able to do the same with insects!). The professor grimaced and said something about not caring much for weevils in his muesli, but from then on, he and his TA (who was kind of cute, btw) had me pegged as someone needing to influence to change their career path. And if I had, I'd probably be making a lot more money now.

Anyhow, since I stuck to marine biology, I did my paper on one of the few truly marine insects: Halobates, the sea skimmer. Dr. Cheng's name was very familiar to me.

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