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Unusual creatures we share our world with

September 6, 2010

If we were to loose our top 3 main Ocean Predators
Sharks, Whales & Dolphins
The Oceans would collapse and here is just a brief preview of some of the wonders of the world we would loose

The Leafy Sea Dragon

A marine fish in the family Syngnathida, which also includes seahorses. It is the only member of the genus Phycodurus. It is found along the southern and western coasts of  Australia
Those that live in the deep waters are generally more dark brown to burgundy, while those living in the shallow water are more yellow to greenish.

These little ones are generally no larger
 than a little finger nail!

The Pygmy Seahorse is known to occur only on gorgonian corals of the genus Muricella, and they have evolved to resemble the coral.

The Sea Horse has kept itself so well camouflaged that it was not discovered until a specimen of coral was taken by scientist and the little Sea Horse was finally spotted
 during an examination of the coral!

The Ocean Sun Fish
“mola mola”

Despite their size, ocean sunfish are docile, and pose no threat to human divers.

Injuries from sunfish are rare, although there is a slight danger from large sunfish leaping out of the water onto boats.

The ocean sunfish is the largest bony fish in the world. The Ocean Sunfish has a very small brain compared to it’s size. Their brains are only about the size of a small nut.

Adult sunfish are vulnerable to only a few natural predators.
Sea Lions, Orca & Sharks will consume them.

Among humans, sunfish are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, including Japan. The sale of  their flesh is banned in the European Union.

In the course of its evolution, the caudal fin (tail) of the sunfish disappeared, to be replaced by a lumpy pseudo-tail, the clavus. The ocean sunfish resembles a fish head with a tail.

Spanish Shawls
(Flabellina iodinea)

It’s a Sea Slug!

Spanish shawls are hermaphtodites, which means they have both male and female sex organs. However, self-fertilization very rarely occurs.

When in harm by other predators, they can gracefully move away by flexing their body strongly and pushing off.

Hermissenda crassicornis

Another type of Sea Slug

They can always be distinguished by the bright orange stripe down the midline of the dorsum. A blue to white line occurs on the dorsal surface of the oral tentacles. At the the rhinophores this line splits in two, with one line following the edge of the foot to the tail, the other flanking the orange midline stripe.

 They will eat small crustaceans, tiny clams or dead animals of any sort. They will even eat other.

When mating most are often found in southern California in winter, but are found year around in the Puget Sound (Washington)

Many studies have been carried out on Hermissenda, but the main area of focus is the eye.  It has five cells, each about 75 um in diameter, which are large enough to receive a recording electrode. Within the cells it is suspected of containing symbiotic fungi.  Hermissenda is an aggressive creature.  When two individuals encounter fights will break out, which involves lunging and biting.  Encounters most likely to induce a fight are those of mutual head on contact.  The individual whose head is closest to the others tail or side will usually get the first bite in, this also means that they usually come out the winner.

Thanks for your time out to read about these unusual creatures we share our world with.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 12, 2011 2:14 pm

    I love ocean sunfish! I am officaly obsessed with them! I’m also obsessed with narwhales…. but sunfish are so huge and weird looking and I love that! I also love whale sharks…. so HUGE…. open ocean creatures are AWESOME, I think maybe I should sign up for diving leasons. Because, one day I want to meet a whale shark, ocean sunfish, and a narwhale.

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