Aug 16, 2009

Bizarre, crazy, insane.

I'm sitting here watching the weather radar. A string of foul weather is headed in this direction, and the very reason I have time to write is because our offshore trip for tomorrow is postponed. Tropical storms can really churn up the water, and it's going to be a washing machine out there. This hurricane season has been pretty slow to this point, so I guess we're due for a couple of storms. I'm also wondering about when the big one is coming and more importantly, who is going to get it.

Storms aside, it's been an amusing week for fish news. We'll start with bizarre.

A lady up in Ohio was driving along with her daughter on the interstate when she saw the most beautiful bald eagle she'd ever seen in her life. The eagle then dropped one of these on her windshield:

A Lake Erie Freshwater Drum, aka "Sheepshead"

The moderately sized fish torpedo wiggled free from the eagle and was dropped from 40 feet onto her windshield, completely shattering the glass. article here. The sheer optimist in me thinks that a fish dropped by an eagle is far better than falling airplane toilet ice.

Now for the crazy.

A friend of mine informed me earlier in the week about the appearance of a couple of whale sharks off of Destin, Florida. photos here. I was pretty excited about it. But what I just found out is that there have been multiple sightings of whale sharks throughout the entire northern Gulf of Mexico, from Clearwater, Florida all the way to Louisiana. It's a baffling whale shark phenomenon. Here's a video of the sharks seen off of Grayton Beach, Florida earlier this month.

An article I just read explained that there are four times as many whale sharks sightings this year as any normal year. Something is going on, and nobody knows why. It could be a change in upwelling currents or food abundance, but shark scientists aren't sure. We still don't know alot about these creatures.

Whale sharks are large filter feeders that feed on plankton, algae, krill, squid, and other little critters. They suck in massive amounts of water, filter out the good stuff, and then expel the rest out of their gill openings. If they swallow something big like an unsuspecting diver, no problem. They can cough you out. Surprisingly, whale sharks are gentle, if not playful with swimmers despite their ridiculous size. They're also very aware of their enormity and surroundings, so don't worry about the tail swatting you like a fly.

It would be amazing to swim with one of these guys and I hope I get to do it someday.

And now, the completely insane.

Did you know that you can tattoo your aquarium buddies? Especially popular in China, aquarium fish are laser tattooed with Chinese characters meaning "luck", "happiness", "good fortune" and just about anything else you can think of. I've also seen fish tattooed with hearts, polka dots, and stripes. Article.

She's looking for "Y", "M", "C", and "A"

Of course there is a controversy whether this is a novel idea for pet shops, or just plain crude. I'm sure PETA would give anyone hell about it if the American pet shops decided to do this. I honestly think it would never catch on over here, but I could imagine the activists screaming about the laser tattoos only to overlook the fact that pet shops tend to stuff 300 goldfish into 10 gallon tanks anyway. I could also imagine a fish lottery, with an attractive lady pulling numbered fish out of a tank to figure out the weekly winner. The twisted possibilities are endless.

I can think of a good tattoo for one of the firemouth cichlids in my tank. His name is Optimus Prime.

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