Ocean Critters

Sand bubbler crabs eat sand, make art

                    I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent many hours on tropical beaches gazing at the crazy patterns of tiny sand footballs left behind by crabs. Here’s a neat up-close video on them doing it. [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/6449515[/vimeo] Big HT to Treehugger – head on over there for […]


Cuttlefish are cool

Yes they are. But don’t just take my word for it. Click & listen below to seahorse expert Heather Mason Jones from the University of Tampa making her pick of the oceans inhabitants for “Critter of the Month” in the latest episode of the Naked Oceans podcast. Cuttlefish are cool – Naked Oceans


No-one likes a mucky reef

Joshua Drew from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, picks his top ocean dweller for the “Critter of the Month” in the recent, Christmas episode of the Naked Oceans podcast. Joshua Drew on cleaner wrasse – Naked Oceans


The story of seahorses – what happened next? (Final part)

In the third and final installment of my series of posts continuing the story of seahorses following the publication of my book Poseidon’s Steed, there is one more advance in the world of seahorse science I want to mention – followed by the answer to a question I get asked quite a bit: what happened to the […]


The story of seahorses – what happened next? (Part 2)

Continuing my series of posts this week that picks up the story of seahorses where my book, Poseidon’s Steed left off, here is an update on the international trade in seahorses:   Illegal seahorse trade rages on A study by Vincent Nijman showed that between 1998-2007, around 16 million seahorses were exported from Southeast Asia (along with millions […]


The story of seahorses – what happened next? (Part 1) Spoiler alert!

Writing a book about seahorses gave me a wonderful opportunity to shine some light into the obscure lives of these fascinating little fish. But of course, the thing about books (at least the old fashioned, paper kind) is that they fix events at a certain point in time when in reality the story carries on. In […]


This is how I feel about Mondays:

I woke up this morning to find a young elephant seal napping in front of Palmer Station. Yawning excessively, rolling around, drooling… he seemed to perfectly embody my early-Monday sentiments. View more polar posts for SeaMonster here!


Best invertebrate porn I’ve seen all week

I mean, not that I go looking for it or anything . . . but you will see from the video why they call it (no I am not making this up) penis fencing. And watch carefully: they each have two. Not sure exactly where they put them but, well, let’s not go there. Truth, […]


Flying Penguins

I was perched behind a rock, trying to focus my camera on the blue-eyed shag swimming in our harbor, when this Chinstrap penguin leapt out of the water. He surprised me about as badly as I surprised him! Happy Monday, everyone. I’m in Antarctica! Find my polar posts for SeaMonster here, or check out xyzena.com […]


Breaking news – fish mimics the mimic octopus

This is so very awesome you better sit down and pay attention. A fish has been caught in the act of mimicking that master of disguise – the mimic octopus. We all know how clever octopus can be. And of all the brainy cephalopods, the mimic octopus stands out with it’s extraordinary repertoire of impersonations. […]


Newly evolved for 2012’s climate: world’s first hybrid shark

The changing climate that increasingly dominates the news is beginning to play its hand in some strange and unexpected ways. Creatures from algae to fishes are busting out of their old geographic ranges and striking out into new territories. A case in point: the microscopic phytoplankton species Neodenticula seminae, a dominant primary producer in North […]


‘Tis the season to be hatching…

Fa la la la la, la la la la! As a Northern Hemispherite, I found it odd to be decking the halls within a week of celebrating the Summer Solstice, but apparently the Antarctic locals know better. Perfectly-timed with the “warm” season came the arrival of a new generation – penguin chicks are hatching all […]


Penguin Seduction

GoPro HD Hero camera + fuzzy hat as “decoy” + curious penguin = He got especially involved when I started building a pebble nest for the camera. Male Adelie penguins woo the ladies by bringing pebbles for their nests… this one started picking up the pebbles close to the camera with his beak, and plopping […]


Jackson the elephant seal takes an 18000 mile stroll

Legend has it that back in ancient Greece, some guy named Pheidippides ran 27 miles (technically 26 miles and 385 yards) to alert his general that the Persians had been defeated at the battle of Marathon. Then he dropped dead from the exertion. He was of course considered a hero and the run is immortalized […]


Whale Falls: A Blubbery Oasis

In the spirit of the holiday season, let us consider the gift that really keeps on giving: dead whales! Okay, now before you get any big ideas, I’m talking about whales that have died naturally and sunk to the bottom of the ocean. These “whale falls” are a true oasis on the dark sea floor, […]


What a wonderful world

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8WHKRzkCOY[/youtube] Happy Holidays — from Planet Earth


Transgendered sea anemone denounced as ‘abomination’ by clergy

From the Onion archives (note th: A coalition of Baptist clergymen spoke out Monday against the Telia felina, a transgendered sea anemone they are decrying as “base and depraved.” “This filthy anemone, which exhibits both male and female characteristics, is turning our oceans’ intertidal zones into dens of sin and perversion,” said Rev. William Chester, spokesman […]


Wave your claws in the air…

… like you just don’t care. Remember the Yeti crab? That fuzzy pawed deep sea denizen that revealed itself to science a few years ago and got given the name Kiwa hirsuta? Well, meet it’s newly-discovered cousin, Kiwa puravida. This chap has gone one step further down the weeeeird sea animals pathway. It’s not just hairy but […]


Dancing Belugas!

In celebration of the defeat of the dark lord of Alaska, we bring back the dancing white whales: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZS_6-IwMPjM&[/youtube]


Great white shark seen off North Carolina coast!

That ain’t no bull shark!  Both the video and commentary are awesome! (although, warning to parents: video contains some “fisherman language”) Some of my favorites: “That’s a big [Fing] bull shark…holy shit, holy shit!”.   ” I think hes gotta be at least 18 feet, he’s [Fing]  big …Wanna try to hook em?” [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f9Pkf75yX0&[/youtube]


The Jaws effect: why we misunderstand sharks

The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer (1899) From Nat Geo (by Patrick Kiger, HT to Abel V): Audiences cringed in terror as they watched the 1975 movie thriller Jaws, which depicted shark hunters’ desperate struggle to survive an encounter with a monstrous aquatic serial killer that was powerful enough to turn their fishing cruiser into splinters, and was […]


Silky seabugs

As a long-time afficianado of the amphipod crustaceans I’ve come to terms with being alone in a crowd, having as it were a more rarified taste in biophilia than the average whale-hugger lover of sea life. Sure, they’re submicroscopic, sometimes pesky (crawling into your ears while working underwater, for example), and often devilishly difficult to […]


Beluga whales 1, Sarah Palin 0

From the Center for Biological Diversity – my new favorite NGO: There’s huge news today out of Alaska: A federal judge just rejected the state’s attempts to deny Endangered Species Act protection for Cook Inlet beluga whales. Today’s ruling is a major victory in our decade-long battle to protect the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, […]


Polar bears and climate change

My research usually takes me to tropical places where you can’t drink the water.  But this week I’m in a very cold northern place.  I came to Churchill, Canada to work with Polar Bears International on their Tundra Connections project, helping to spread the word about how climate change is impacting marine critters like polar bears. The arctic […]