Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Mohammed Ali shrimp

Imagine that today you decide that your house needs a little “sometin, sometin” as my mother would say! You think to yourself, “I know what I need, I need a fish tank”!! So you go out spend a gazillion dollars on a fancy glass tank, import some live rocks and some tropical fish… because let’s face it fresh water fish are a little boring looking. You set everything up and by the time you’re done its time to hit the sack. As you get ready for bed, fantasizing about the next time your friends come over and how your going to impress them with your newly acquired tropical fish knowledge, you say to yourself “WINNING!!!” and slowly drift off to sleep imagining tropical fishes swimming around you. The next morning, you eagerly race out of the room to go feed the new additions to your family only to find that A. the fish are all gone and B. your tank has a crack on it and consequently is leaking aquarium water all over the floor!?!?

My fellow critter lovers… it’s my pleasure to introduce to you the very misunderstood
Mantis Shrimp.
Living among live rocks this little guy is more often than not unintentionally brought into an oblivious tank owner’s aquarium. Don’t let this sweet face fool you! This critter packs a powerful punch. Also known as the thumb splitter, the mantis shrimp is capable of thrusting out its club like claws in a jack-in the box fashion impaling any obstacle in its way. To put things in prospective for those of you that aren’t currently infatuated with this handsome guy their attack is equivalent to that of a .22 caliber bullet. Extremely aggressive and territorial they are more than willing to take down any animal that comes to close for comfort. As if having guns for arms isn’t enough they also have exceptional vision. I know, I know those googley eyes aren’t just for gazing into. Having the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom they are capable of distinguishing over 100,000 different colors (that’s ten times more than you and I)and all waves of CPL (circular polarized light) in retrospect our most advance machines today can only detect CPL in a few colors, the mantis can detect CPL in all colors. I’m sure right about now your going what the hell is CPL. Prepare to be astounded… CPL is used in blu ray disc's and high tech cameras to allow for that super crisp picture, imagine seeing the world like that on a day to day basis!  Oh AND for the romantic in all of us, some of these guys mate for life. Soooo… yeah he might shatter the aquarium and kill off any living creature in the tank… but come on, this is one sailor that’ll love you for life!
Here's a cool video of a mantis shrimp breaking open a clam :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Light Bulb

On August 29 at 12:14 AM I drove to my friends (Jen) house to pick up contacts, contact solution and to use her hole puncher. By the time I arrived she was 98.7% asleep and potentially sleep walking when she opened her front door. None the less she let me in and handed me my stuff. As I awkwardly stood around not sure if I should just thank her and leave she said, “you can stay and talk to me for a little if you want.” Thinking back now I’m pretty sure she meant that as a rhetorical offer. However, I was more than eager to jump on her bed and explain my daily learning’s in excruciating detail. I covered all my favorite topics like dolphin migration, sloths and conservation. Somewhere during those 30 minutes of my blabbering and her half asleep “aha” I mentioned how one in every four animals is a beetle. At this point she adjusted her “listening” position opened one eye and said “oh, that’s interesting I didn’t know that.”SEE IT???? There, there it was… the domino effect, the eureka moment, THE LIGHT BULB that started everything. Like a rocket shooting into the atmosphere my brain was running at a trillion miles a second, so fast, that the speed of light would need a red bull to keep up. I realized right there at the foot of her bed that very few people (in relation to the worlds 8 billion inhabitants) truly understand the beauty of the creatures that surround us! I thought, if I could just tell people about what makes each creature unique, then maybe they will take the time to read an article about the environmental issues that we are facing today instead of giving them a sideway glance while flipping through the Sunday paper. I said it once and I’ll say it a million times; education is the key to conservation. I personally think Dr. Seuss said it best – “I am the lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”