Weird Fact of the Day:
The Blobfish (psychrolutes marcidus) owes its unusual appearance to its gelatinous flesh, which is slightly less dense than water and allows it to float above the seafloor without expending too much energy on swimming.
It has no bones or muscles - this is why it turns into a ‘blob’ when it reaches the surface. Underwater, it is suspected to look more like its cousin, the Blob Sculpin (second picture).
(Photos belong to Claf Hong and NOAA)
US Marine John Kelly was the last person to be awarded 2 Medals of Honor. He ran 100 yards in advance of the front line and attacked an enemy machine gun nest, killed the gunner with a grenade, shot another man with his pistol, and returned with 8 prisoners. He was 19. source
Aliases: Green Turtle, Black Sea Turtle, Pacific Green Turtle
Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas
Size: Adults can reach up to 5 feet long (1.5 meters).
Weight: Adults can weigh up to 150 - 419 pounds (68 - 190 kilograms).
Carapace Length (Shell): Adults on average have a shell length between 31 - 44 inches (78 - 112 centimeters).
Gender Differences: Males have a slightly longer tail and are overall larger than females in size. Males also have longer claws on their front flippers. However, both do have paddle-like flippers which aid in their swimming.
Lifespan (Wild): Green Sea Turtles that reach maturity can live for roughly 80 years.
Diet: Juvenile Green Sea Turtles are initially carnivorous (diet consists mainly or exclusively of meat) eating things like mollusks (snails and clams), sponges, algae, and even fish eggs. As they’re maturing, they’ll incorporate plants into their diet and are considered omnivorous (diet consists of both meats and plants). Once they’re fully-grown adults, most of them are herbivores and have cut out meat in their diets due to their serrated jaw (saw-like) which helps them chew plant life like various sea grasses and algae.
Group: A group of Sea Turtles is called a bale.
-Habitat and Lifestyle-
Life Cycle: Almost everyone knows that Sea Turtles hatch from eggs that are laid on beaches in Southeast Asia, India, western Pacific islands, and Central America. One of the most dangerous events in a Sea Turtle’s life happens as soon as they hatch. As they attempt to flee into the ocean they may be attacked by predators like birds and crabs; a big percentage of hatchlings won’t make it to the water. Juveniles who did make it to the water spend anywhere from 3 - 5 years in the deep ocean. After their years of exploration, the juveniles will find shallow watered areas to call home for the rest of their days. Sadly, estimations say that only about 1% of Sea turtle hatchlings will make it to sexual maturity which occurs after about 20 - 50 years. Finally, once mating occurs the female will breach the ocean’s surface past the high tide line of the beach to lay her eggs. She then returns back to the sea.
Breeding: Mating occurs every 2 - 4 years.
Gender Deciding Factors: Nests in areas above 30 degrees Celsius tend to favor female hatchlings whereas areas below 30 degrees Celsius tend to favor male hatchlings. Egg positioning also plays a role in whether a hatchling may be male or female. If the egg is more towards the center of the nest then it has a higher chance of resulting in a female hatchling due to the center being warmer.
Number of Eggs per Nest: Each nest will contain about 110 eggs.
Number of Nests per Season: On average, a female Sea Turtle can create 2 - 8 nests in a single season.
Habitats: Generally, Green Sea Turtles stay near island and continental coastlines. Depending on their stage in life, Green Sea Turtles can be found in many different types of environments. Younger juveniles can be found in the open ocean as they spend years swimming around before they settle down. Older juveniles and mature adults will find permanent residence in areas that are more shallow like coral reefs, seagrass beds near shore, and salt marshes. These areas are generally good spots for protecting the turtles. Globally, you can find Sea Turtles in warm tropical waters to subtropical waters.
-Role in the Ecosystem and Endangerment-
Ecosystem Roles: In the varying areas Sea Turtles can be found, they have a strikingly powerful role to play in each. For instance, on the beaches where their eggs lay cracked and empty, key nutrients are given to the ecosystem through the eggshells. For the turtles located in the seagrass beds, they feed on the seagrass and in doing so they improve the health and development of the seagrass; this in turn results in a suitable habitat and place for feeding for various species of fish and crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, barnacles, crayfish, etc).
Conservation Status: Green Sea Turtles are listed as Endangered whereas some subpopulations in the Mediterranean are listed as Critically Endangered. Some human-caused threats include being hunted, poached, and having their eggs collected. Whereas accidental threats like boats, pollution, habitat destruction, and fishing nets are reducing the population as well.
Weird Fact of the Day:
The Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) is thought to have the longest gestation period of any vertebrate - 3.5 years. This makes it vulnerable to accidental overfishing and it is characterised as Near Threatened by IUCN.
(Photo from Epic Wildlife)
Weird Fact of the Day:
The Flamboyant Cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) is the only poisonous cuttlefish, and one of three poisonous cephalopods. Their muscles contain a rare, highly potent toxin that isn’t fully understood by scientists.
(Photo belongs to Edwin Loenen)
Glaucus atlanticus is a species of small blue sea slugs.
These sea slugs are pelagic: with the aid of a gas-filled sac in its stomach they are able to float upside down on the surface tension of the water, where they are carried along by the winds and ocean currents. They are found in temperate and tropical waters such as South Africa, European waters, the east coast of Australia and Mozambique.
#DidYouKnow - The narrower the pupil in relation to the horizon, the greater accuracy of depth perception in peripheral vision? Pair that with the fact that the octopuses optical nerve fibers are behind retina and you get absolutely no blind spot which means an octopus can see everything that is going on in their environment. Pretty cool huh nation?! 📸: Gustavo Maqueda
Species in the Rhinochimaera family are known as long-nosed chimaeras. Their unusually long snouts (compared to other chimaeras) have sensory nerves that allow the fish to find food. Also, their first dorsal fin contains a mildly venomous spine that is used defensively. They are found in deep, temperate and tropical waters between 200 to 2,000 m in depth, and can grow to be up to 140 cm (4.5 ft) in length.
Chimaeras (also known as ghost sharks and ratfish) are an order of cartilaginous fish most closely related to sharks, but they have been evolutionarily isolated from them for over 400 million years.
(Info from WP and .gif from video by NOAA's Okeanos Explorer—this is not an animation!)
Weird Fact of the Day:
Hammerhead sharks are born with soft heads, so that they don’t get stuck in their mother’s birth canal.
Female hammerheads usually give birth to around 15 pups per litter, with the exception of the great hammerhead shark, which can give birth to 20-40.
“A female sperm whale gives birth surrounded by a pod of other females. After the baby is born, the other whales step in appearing to act as midwives. They then escort the newborn to the surface so it can take its first breath.”
This post has been a long time coming. I’ve had a lot of conversations with friends on this topic lately, and I realize that these important conversations don’t happen very much in our online communities. There are three main things I’d like to address.
1. Environmentalism absolutely must do a better job of reflecting intersectionality.
I’m a member of the activist community at my school and in North Carolina in general. This means that I do everything I can to show up for black lives, trans lives, Muslim lives, native lives and more. I see intersectionality in everything I do and work hard to educate myself as a white, middle class person. I am part of the Divestment Student Network which cannot divorce these environmental issues from the social issues they impact. Environmental racism is real. The same systems of oppression that are creating environmental catastrophe are also hitting queer people, women, and poc the hardest. This cannot, must not, be forgotten. I believe that it is easy to talk about environmental issues in a way that centralizes narratives about landfills, marine life destruction, facts about carbon footprints, and endangered animals. Often times, the human side of things is left out, and those narratives must be just as important. We all suffer as a result of climate change, and certain populations suffer first and most. Our narratives should strive to be more inclusive.
2. The environmentalism movement absolutely must recognize that it takes enormous privilege to be zero waste, vegan, minimalist, etc.
I had a friend point out to me recently that they admired my lifestyle choices, but felt that certain things were exclusive to them because they lived with disability. They had a perspective that I had never considered and really appreciated hearing. I often see people in this community push back against these statements and argue about the ease of “simple swaps” or “lazy veganism” but this just silences and closes out those voices even more. This seriously needs to change. I love figures like the Vegan Bros because they don’t think purity should ever be the goal of veganism. The goal should be drawing people in to this community as much as possible, and listening to the very real challenges and barriers that people face. For example, buying high-quality, long-lasting clothing plainly is not an option for people of low income, and buying second-hand is nothing new or revolutionary when that’s what you’ve always done to get by. This needs to be acknowledged. Most importantly though, shutting down marginalized people when they express their struggles needs to stop, because we should be trying to draw a wider circle to grow as a movement.
3. I come from a place of privilege, which makes it my responsibility to be better and do everything I can to dismantle systems of oppression.
I am white, middle class, able-bodied, neurotypical and educated. I am “woke” to the deep problems in our current food system, and our fashion industry. I have enough financial independence and autonomy to chose to support better products and businesses. I live in a city where I can recycle and compost almost anything, so there’s no reason I should be sending much at all to the landfill. I have a job that allows me to push my university community to do better, and educate others. Because all of this is true, I choose to be vegan, to be zero waste, and to work for environmental and social justice as much as possible. As a friend of mine keeps reminding me “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” (Desmond Tutu). I firmly believe that complacency is a privilege, and I choose to use my privilege for good whenever and wherever I can.