cnidarians:

Dive in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and sometimes you’ll be treated to the beautiful view of an Atlantic sea nettle. (Just don’t get too close – those tentacles sting!) 

Sea jellies like these are classified as cnidarians, a group of animals that also include corals and sea anemones. 

(Photo: G.P. Schmahl/NOAA)

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Scyphozoan Life Cycle

1. Planula : The free-swimming medusa is either female or male and produces eggs or sperm which combine to produce a larva, called a planula. The planula is planktonic and will float around until it finds a substrate to bind to.

2. Scyphistoma : Once the planula binds to a substrate it develops into a scyphistoma. Scyphistoma is a feeding polyp with protruding tentacles on top used to catch food particles.

3. Strobila : The polyp soon turns into a reproductive polyp with stacks of strobilae. The strobilae are immature medusa that are being asexually reproduced by the polyp.

4. Ephyra : When a strobila is mature it breaks away from the reproductive polyp as a planktonic ephyra.

5. Medusa : The ephyra matures into a full grown medusa.

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CNIDARIA!

The lobby outside my lab room at USYD is filled with a collection of preserved animals, I thought you guys might like to take a look at some of the marine-related displays.

Phylum CNIDARIA! Defined by radially symmetrical bodies which either take the medusa (jellyfish) or polyp (corals and sea anemones) form, and contain stinging cells called cnidocytes.

Note the anemones attached to a hermit crab’s shell (image 2), and the Box Jellyfish (image 4)!

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Starting this week, the Museum lets you explore the underwater world of some of the ocean’s most beautiful and bizarre animals: jellies. Come dive into the lives of jellies in an immersive video experience in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.* 

But what exactly is a jelly? It’s is a general term for any kind of transparent, gelatinous (or jellylike) animal that floats in the ocean. Jellies belong to two different groups, cnidarians and ctenophores, and while members of the two groups may sometimes look alike, they are not all closely related. 

Hundreds of jelly species live in oceans around the world, from shallow bays to the deep sea. Some even live in fresh water. The most common jellies are true jellyfish (cnidarians) and comb jellies (ctenophores).

Most jellyfish have long stinging tentacles and have oral-arms that help catch and eat food. Comb jellies have oval bodies lined with rows of fluttering cilia. Instead of stinging, they use their tentacles to pull prey into their large mouths.

Whether they’re cnidarians or ctenophores, jellies have bodies that are made of two transparent layers—an outer one for protection and an inner one for digesting food. Between the two layers, you’ll find nothing but a watery gel—in fact, their bodies are more than 95% water! Aside from these few parts, there’s not much more to them. These amazing animals get along with no bones, no head, no legs—not even a brain!

Experience the world of jellies, open now through May 26, 2017. Part of the Milstein Science Series.

Meant to Be (13 Reasons Why Zach Imagine)

Description: In the middle of a study session, Zach tells you his plans for the future.

request: none

I love marine biology a lot, so there is that aspect, just a little bit. :) (Not too much, don’t worry.)

“Babe, we’re in the library,” your boyfriend, Zach laughed in between kisses quietly as he tried to push you away from him gently. “I love you, but ever since you came to these study dates with me, my grades have been slipping. I gotta make sure they’re good if I want to play for the rest of the season.”

“You don’t even want to play basketball in college,” you rolled your eyes.

“I want to play now though,” he laughed as he grabbed his marine biology book from his bag.

“Teach me about fish,” you smiled at him.

“You’re not even taking this class.”

“I like seeing how passionate you are about it though,” you said placing your hand on his arm. “Teach me.”

“Well, we’re learning about cnidarians,” he said as he flipped to the right page. He finally found it and pointed to the jellyfish on the page. “Jellyfish are cnidarians because they have stinging cells so they can keep predators away.”

“So if something is annoying them, they just sting them to death?”

“Kind of,” he laughed. “It’s more for protection.” He grabbed your hand and rubbed it. “Wish I could do that to guys who flirt with you all the time.”

“Jealous much?” you smiled.

“Nah,” he smiled as he kissed your cheek. “I know you don’t care about them because I know we’re meant to be.”

“Really? I mean…how do you know that?”

“Yeah, I mean, when I think about college…I…I think about you a lot, and how you’re gonna fit in the picture.”

“You see me in the picture?” you smiled.

“Yeah,” he blushed looking down at his book.

“What else do you think about?”

“I think about us, wherever we end up…I mean hopefully at the same place, but wherever…I think about how we’re gonna find our Monet’s, and get coffee there in the mornings and have study dates in the afternoons. And how we’re gonna get an apartment together some day, and cuddle a lot because I know you like it.”

“You like it, too, babe,” you laughed as you leaned your head on his shoulder. “You really think about that?”

“All the time, and it never gets old or stale. That’s how I know we’re meant to be,” he smiled as he finally looked at you again.

“That’s the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me.”

“You deserve the best, (Y/N). I know I’m not perfect, but I will always try my best for you.”

“You’re everything I could want and more,” you whispered as before you kissed him again. “I love you.”

“I love you,” he whispered as he wrapped his arms around you. “I can’t wait for the future with you.”

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: 10 Spooky & Scary Freaks From Beneath the Waves

Let me tell you folks, I’m in a real pinch here. Since all I do here is review some of the most terrifying shit the seething depths of the oceans can offer, I’m in a bit of trouble sorting out the best material for this article. But what the hell, that’s not for you guys to worry about, happy Halloween!

The day of irrationally giggling gourds and children running around in ridiculous costumes has finally arrived! And for this day, I’ll compile ten Halloween-themed monstrosities of the water world! Brace thyselves, folks, and let the madness begin!

10.: Night of the Evil Crabs

First in line is the aptly-named Halloween crab (Gecarcinus quadratus). Not only does it look like a Jack’o’Lantern on spider legs and huge hooked claws, it’s also decked out in festive colors (black, orange, purple). Even better, they live on land, and sleep in the woods near the seashore during the day in groups of hundreds, but during the night, they emerge and swarm out of the forest to feed on the shore, no doubt scaring the shit out of people happening upon the scuttling army of tiny death crabs sporting macabre facelike prints on their shells.

Boo!

9.: The Tiny Ghost That’s Actually an Octopus

No, this is not a bedsheet ghost, however may it look like one. This is the flapjack octopus (family  Opisthoteuthidae), a deep-sea ball of tentacles and adorable little fins. Despite its cuteness, it’s not to be underestimated, though - it lives in the soul-crushing depth of the deep deep down, with immense pressure, ass-freezing cold and absolute darkness surrounding it for basically all its life. To survive in these horrid conditions, its body is practically made of jelly - it’s so stretchy that when it descends, it’s flattened into a pancake. An adorable, spooky pancake.

8.: The Vampire Fish

Hailing from the Amazon River, the candirú (Vandellia cirrhosa) is one of the most dreaded Amazonian fish, even trumping the infamous piranha, despite the fact that it’s only a few centimeters long. That’s because this thing sucks blood after anchoring itself onto its prey using a pair of oversized vampire fangs. It can suck more blood than its own blood volume, which causes its belly to swell out like some weird fish mosquito. It’s so scary that there’s a myth of it riding up the piss stream of men taking a leak, wedging itself into their urethra, and sucking blood directly from their dicks. That’s seriously fucked up.

Thankfully, this rumor proved to be false… because candirús prefer to attack women.

7.: The Werewolf Frog

Continuing with yet another surprisingly appropriate animal for this holiday, the male of the horror frog (Trichobatrachus robustus) grows hairs in mating season, which are packed with arteries to help it breathe underwater while guarding its eggs. This also means that if you cut its fur, it bleeds. What’s even better is the fact that it has retractable claws, Wolverine style. But the way it uses them is probably even more badass. Namely, it breaks its own toe bones and forces them through its own skin. Yikes. They don’t know whether it uses them to fight or to climb surfaces, but either way, it’s scary as shit.

6.: The Big Red Metroid

Really, it’s a Metroid. Look at it and say in my face that it isn’t.

This is the very descriptively named big red jellyfish (Tiburonia granrojo). The dude who discovered it originally intended to name it Big Ugly Jellyfish, which would also be very descriptive.

This thing is mysterious as all hell. What they do know is that it’s predatory (of fucking course) and that weirdly, it has no tentacles. It uses its bizarre, stubby oral arms to hunt. Weirdly, their number differs from jellyfish to jellyfish. I have no friggin’ idea man, the ocean is strange as hell.

5.: The Living Jack’o’Lantern

Boy, it sure is a wonderful day at the beach today! Let’s go swimming! The water is clear, the sand feels great under my legs, I look down and OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK THE SEAFLOOR GREW A FACE.

Seriously, wouldn’t you freak out if this thing winked at you from the bottom of the sea?

What we have here is the northern stargazer (Astroscopus guttatus). It spends its entire life buried into the seafloor, peeking upwards like a big screwed-up pumpkin in the sea. If something swims by, it jumps out, shocks it dead with its electrical organs and swallows it whole. It’s like Pikachu, if Pikachu was an ungodly Jack’o’Lantern-faced abomination and preyed on innocent fish instead of journeying with Ash Ketchum.

But if you dig it out of the sand, you’ll find a funny little detail.

It’s not tailfirst in the sand. Its entire face is on the top of its body. It looks like a floating pancake with a face ate a random fish’s face off and latched onto its back. This is ridiculous, I quit.

4.: Watch Out for the Yeti

This is the yeti crab (Kiwa hirsuta), a species of lobster about as ordinary as Clark Kent in Smallville. Discovered only recently, not much is known about it, except that it lives on hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. For the newcomers here who haven’t read my review on the iron snail, that means that it survives on an opening into the Earth’s mantle constantly erupting with scalding hot, toxic water which is so packed with poisonous sulphuric chemicals that it could possibly kill Rasputin himself in mere seconds if he wasn’t already rotting in his grave since 1916. It lives there… blind. That’s badass.

There’s a little culture of bacteria living amongst the hairs on its arms. They thrive on the aforementioned poisonous chemicals, and in turn the crab likely eats them for sustenance. Not only does it look like a yeti, it walks around with a veritable stash of unicellular candy between its arm hairs. ISn’t this the most Halloweeny monster around?

3.: Your Prayers are In Vain

Um, excuse me? May I kindly inquire as to what in the nine names of hell I’m seeing on my screen?

This is the giant siphonophore (Praya dubia). If you don’t know what siphonophores are, I would like to kindly direct you to this post.

Seriously though, they are colonial creatures consisting of tiny-ass hive-minded Cnidarian polyps held together by a hydrostatic skeleton. In other words, they’re more or less the Borg crossed over with a balloon animal.

This guy right here is the second longest animal on Earth. It’s longer than a blue whale and it wants you fucking dead. Nothing good can come out of this.

Its “head” is a glowing sac of air it uses to float and trails the rest of its body after itself. The body, in turn, is a curtain of draping, venomous battle-tentacles it uses to snare prey and then stuff it into the insatiable gaping mouths of its feeding polyps. Basically, beneath the ‘phore it’s death zone.

It gets better! Since it lives in the deep abyss its hydrostatic skeleton is hyper-pressurized to withstand the immense water pressure down where even the flabby whalefish calls it quits. This means that if it’s brought up to our surface, it bursts.

This guy is a mixture of a ghost, a tentacle monster and festive light strands and it’s glorious. Oh and it’s name mans “doubted prayer”. You can pray for it to spare you, but it’s in vain.

2.: The Electric Lich

This thing right here? It’s called the black ghost knifefish (Apteronotus albifrons). If you say that’s not the most metal name in the history of ever, you’re lying.

This guy lounges around in fast-moving rivers, which means it always has to be moving to not get washed away. It’s more or less doing the aquatic equivalent of running upwards on a downwards-moving escalator for its entire life.

It navigates and locates its prey with fine-tuned electric shockwaves, and is known to use its electricity as an FM radio to communicate. Radio fish, how awesome is that.

What’s even more, South American natives believe that these fish hold the souls of the dead. It’s a soul jar that’s also an FM radio.

And number 1…











Is…













BOO!

This has been the obligatory jumpscare. We shall now continue to number 1.

1.: The Blob Monster

This guy, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the most well-known fish in the world. Thousands of fanart of it, a mascot of a nature preservation foundation, a song… you don’t know which fish I’m talking about do you?

Maybe you’d recognize it if it wasn’t in a depth of 1200 meters under extreme pressure?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the blobfish we’re talking about. Its scientific name is frankly unpronouncable. Seriously, I think it causes multiple deaths every year due to idiots trying to pronounce Psychrolutes marcidus having their throats explode.

While it looks comical and inept on land, in the deep sea it’s not to be fucked with. It can withstand immense pressure since it has practically no muscles and its flesh is more or less gelatinous. The only thing keeping it in shape is the brutal water pressure breathing down its nonexistent neck. This also means it’s incapacitated in lower pressures. While other animals barely survive in high pressures out of bare necessity, the blobfish thrives in it.

Despite possessing practically no muscle mass, it’s a fearsome warrior. It has practically no predators, and after mating season, if anyone tries to start shit with the eggs will be just flat-out devoured whole by the male. It doesn’t screw around.

In other words, it’s fucking Hedorah.

Thus concludes my Halloween Special. Happy Halloween, folks, and remember: stay spoopy.

Of Blades and Broomsticks Pt. VII

Previous Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Witch AU on AO3

Genji’s eyes flicked open and he found himself in a dark chamber that carried a faint smell of briny, otherworldly fermentation. The walls were black and slicked wet, yet the texture could vary from gleaming like black glass to porous and rough as pumice. The light in the room was eerie and green, and, Genji looked up to see that the light was sourced from some bioluminescent fungus or algae on the walls, and about six or seven disembodied bright green eyeballs, all roughly apple-sized with black slitted pupils. The eyeballs hovered in the air above him and all of their pupils fixed on him as he stirred on the raised slab of black stone he had been laid upon.

 Genji felt a weight on his chest and saw something there that was bright green and amber-colored, and looked midway between a deep sea basket star and a Portuguese man o’ war, and it was now covering most of his bare chest. Any sensible mortal would be rightfully horrified by the slimy mass of fractal-branching tendrils and tentacles covering their torso, but Genji had seen this before and gave a short sigh of relief.

“You tore a hole in the veil with a roar almost loud enough to wake the slumbering dead,” a calm voice spoke in the darkness, “Almost.” 

The green eyes hovering around Genji all swiveled in one direction to face the corner of the room, the source of the voice.

“Master…” Genji said softly.

Zenyatta emerged from the shadows, his own face a mass of violet and green tentacles. “The banishing itself would have killed most lesser demons,” said Zenyatta, “But its disturbance of the veil was strong enough to get my attention, and I found you quickly,” he gestured at slimy eldritch organism currently fixed to Genji’s chest. “Your injuries will be healed soon, but you must tell me what happened–what force on the mortal plane is strong enough to send you here against your will?”

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Glaucus Atlanticus.

Also known as sea swallow, blue sea slug, blue angel or blue dragon, it is a small sized sea slug that lives in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific ocean.

They feed mainly on other sea creatures like the Portuguese Man-o-War, a cnidarian often mistaken for a jellyfish. The Glaucus is immune to their venom, and can actually store it in its cerata ( their dorsal and lateral outgrowths on the upper surfaces of the body). As a result they can sting potential predators. The sting is quite painful for humans, so they should be handled carefully.
At times, and given the occasion, they can be cannibalistic.

With the aid of a gas-filled sac in its stomach, the Glaucus floats at the surface. Due to the location of the gas sac, the sea swallow floats upside down. 

Like almost all heterobranchs, Glaucus is a hermaphrodite, having both male and female reproductive organs. After mating, both animals produce egg strings.

anonymous asked:

Feline here! So if Doc Scratch is an emissary to the horroterrors, does that mean that my Scientologist Doc Scratch is now off the table? Can he be both human cult leader and emissary at the same time, and his oracular visions are from LE? Does LE kill other horrorterrors? Also, what kind of animals are there on Skaia? What do carnivorous Carapacians eat, and how are these animals farmed?

WELL!!! The story of Doc Scratch and his origins will need to be its own post because that’s a BIG DEAL (and no, your scientologist scratch idea was not thrown out the window, you’ll see!) but to answer the question of what animals are native to Skaia…

Skaian animals run the same gamut of diversity as on Earth but with the caveat of being form another planet that has a different astronomical history. It’s possible there will need to be a very subtle new branch of animal classification that I would personally put in between Kingdom and Phylum tier, determining whether the following animals are Earthling or Skaian. To whit:

The Kingdom is Animalia, because we’re talking about Animals. The Origin is Skaian, because we’re looking specifically at animals native to that planet. The Phylums of Skaian animals are generally the same, because it will include a LOT of the same types of animals. Skaia still has Cnidarian animals, like jellyfish, corals, and anemones. It also still has Molluscan animals, such as gastropods (snails), a SHITLOAD of cephalopods (octopus and squid), etc. There are also the more complex animals, like chordates, which is where we step out of the ocean and onto land animals and amphibians.

Carapaces themselves are in the chordate phylum, subphylum Vertebrata, but they would obviously not be classified as “human” or even CLOSE to human, for that matter, because this is where things get Fucky.

For the purposes of this answer I made a cute little diagram explaining the basic taxonomy of a human being. For any kind of animals to be drawn from this base, we go backwards and make up some kind of imaginary deviation from it. Let’s say for example, instead of a Homo sapiens, a bipedal creature with a big brain and no tail, there was a Felis sapiens, a creature with the same big brain of a human, but with a tail, that stands on four legs, and has all the other trappings of a cat.

You can go backwards from this to make up a bunch of cool animals. How does a carapace square up taxonomically, then?

(For the record, a lot of the naming is just latin gibberish I made up because most/all taxonomic names are in latin)

From this, we can go backwards and determine what other kinds of land animals there are on Skaia that would branch off from the previous taxonomic classifiers. What other kinds of “lucoromutous” animals are there? What about the other animals that might exist on Skaia, like Skaian mammals or Skaian amphibians? I’d basically have to come up with an entire ecosystem, but thanks to this knowledge of taxonomy and my own imagination, I at least don’t have to start from scratch.


TL;DR Carnivorous carapaces eat a lot of deep-sea fish from Derse, or otherwise hunt local fauna to their ecosystems that would take a lot longer than one answer to explain.