Ocellate river stingray or motoro ray.

We so often envision stingrays as saltwater animals, that it can be rough for many to imagine that there are freshwater stingrays like the motoro. This doesn’t mean the home hobbyist should go out and snatch one up for their own tank. Freshwater rays can be just as sensitive and large growing as their saltwater cousins, and they also come equipped with a stinging barb.


Every year, humans kill an estimated 100 Million sharks. Juxtapose that with the less than 1 person per year killed on average by a shark attack, and you can see how unreasonable the ubiquitous fear of sharks is. Because of the media’s tendency to blow things out of proportion, we’ve been conditioned to fear these animals, who are extremely important to the stability of the ocean ecosystem. And as the ocean goes, so goes the land. 

I’ve been watching Shark Week for years. I now work at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. I don’t work with the animals personally, but they fascinate me and I love learning about them. I would not love my job nearly as much as I do if it weren’t for the years of incredible shark related programming spearheaded by the creators of Shark Week. 

But something has happened in the last few years. They saw dollar signs. The past couple years have been less about bringing shark education and awareness to the general public, and more about latching onto our default fear of these animals. 

I’m mad. I’m mad because this doesn’t help the many declining species of sharks in the ocean. This does nothing to inspire an attitude of appreciation, of awe, and of admiration for the apex predators of the sea. 

I’m probably overreacting. It’s probably always been about the money. But I just can’t help but feel that creating fear of sharks will only hurt them, and by extension us. 


Jellie Invasion Pattern 3 & 4, respectively - by Susie So

More proof that I illustrate things other than flowers and food :) I started off with the digital patterns (in earlier posts) just to get a feel for what I could do and to experiment, but my original intention was to develop a hand-drawn (painted) pattern. These were inspired by the moon jellyfish at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. 

Maybe it’s because of all this snow, but they’re starting to remind me of unique little snowflakes… 


National Aquarium in Baltimore - 7/20 

Animals pictured are:

  • Odontodactylus scyllarus - Peacock Mantis Shrimp
  • Sebastes miniatus - Vermillion Rockfish 
  • Amphiprion ocellaris - Ocellaris Clownfish

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Aw! Look as those incredible whiskers!

Catfish are super-sensory animals. Some have decent vision, but many do not. They make up for this with awesome chemosensory abilities, some almost capable of essentially tasting with their entire bodies.

Imagine being able to taste with your fingers, your arms, your feet. That would be like life for many of the less-visual catfish.

……… I’ll pass on that ability.

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