western atlantic

Green Moray Eel

A “true” eel (unlike the wolf eel) the moray eel lacks pectoral fins. They are found in the Western Atlantic from New jersey to Bermuda. They are “sedentary predators” meaning that instead of actively hunting for food, they wait for something to swim or crawl by their den at night.

Green moray eels are not actually green. Their scaleless skin is actually brown, and the green color comes from the yellowish mucus covering their bodies. Plus having a drab, brown background enhances the mucus color to make it more green in appearance.

Due to their large size and sharp, strong teeth; a bite from a green moray eel can be quite dangerous, however they typically will not strike unless provoked.

Female morays will deposit eggs then let out a sent to attract a male who will then come and fertilize the eggs. The young instinctively know how to care for themselves at birth.

Altogether there are actually over 200 species of moray eel found around the world, the green moray is in good company:

A moray eel’s color can be quite striking and will vary based on species and location. These animals rely on camouflage so their prey can not see them.

Moray eels have few predators, but have been observed being eaten by sharks. Human will also occasionally consume them, but moray eels are considered high risk for a food borne illness called Ciguatera. 

Morays also typically do not have great eyesight and will rely on their excellent sense of smell instead.

Mermaids are known as ningyo in Japanese, but they are very different from the mermaids of Western tradition. Ningyo more closely resemble fish than humans, with a varying level of human-like features, ranging from just an ugly, deformed fish-like face, to an entire human torso with long, bony fingers and sharp claws. They can range in size from the size of a human child to the size of a large seal. Unlike the mermaids of the Atlantic and Mediterranean legends, ningyo from the Pacific and the Sea of Japan are hideous to behold, resembling more of an otherworldly nightmare than a seductive siren.

Mermaids resembling the breeds known throughout the West – with an attractive human torso and a piscine lower body – are not unheard of in the Japanese islands. Particularly since the end of the Edo period and the opening of Japan to the West, more and more Western-style Atlantic mermaids have been seen in Japanese waters. However, the most common Japanese mermaid is more beast than beauty.

Ningyo sightings go back to the earliest written histories of Japan. The first recorded mermaid sightings in Japan are found in the Nihon Shoki, one of the oldest books of classical Japanese history, dating back to 619 CE. The flesh of a ningyo is believed to grant eternal life and youth to those who eat it, and thus it is the subject of many folk tales. However, it carries with it a danger that most people are not willing to risk. Ningyo can place a powerful curse on humans who try to wound or capture them, and some legends tell of entire towns that were swallowed by earthquakes or tidal waves after a foolish fisherman brought home a ningyo in one of his catches. While their grotesque appearance and supernatural powers make them an intriguing subject, they are best avoided at all costs.

The Westernization of Emoji
The takeout box and the fortune cookie are perceived as emblems of Chinese culture, when they’re actually central to the American experience of it.
By Adrienne LaFrance

“I never saw any fortune cookie in my life until I was a teenager,” said Yiying Lu, a San Francisco-based artist who was born in Shanghai. Lu encountered her first fortune cookie when she left China and moved to Sydney, Australia.

Now, the fortune cookie she designed for the Unicode Consortium will be one of dozens of new emoji that are part of a June update. Lu also created the new emoji depicting a takeout box, chopsticks, and a dumpling.

The irony, she says, is that two of the four new Chinese-themed emoji—the fortune cookie and the takeout box—are not Chinese Chinese, but instead reflect Westernized elements of Chinese culture. “It’s kind of like Häagen-Dazs,” Lu told me. “People think its Scandinavian just because of the two dots in the name, but it’s American. It’s the same thing with the takeout box. The Chinese takeout box is completely invented in the West. And the fortune cookie was invented by a Japanese person, but it was popularized in America.”


“The people who fight the hardest for certain emoji are usually trying to fight for representation for themselves in some way,” Lee told me. “Most linguists say emoji are not currently a language—they’re paralinguistic, the equivalent of hand gestures or voice tone. But for people who use them, it’s almost like fighting for a word that [shows] you exist. When you come up with a word to describe your population, it’s a very powerful thing.”



NASA time lapse simulation showing sea surface currents around western Europe. The visualization covers 11 months, from16 February ‘05 to 16 January ‘06. with each second in the video representing 2.75 days. The different colours represent current depths - white flows are nearest the surface, and darker colours running deeper.

Angelfish by SiRobotham The French angelfish is a large angelfish of the family Pomacanthidae, found in the western Atlantic from New York and the Bahamas to Brazil, and also the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, including the Antilles, Roatan, and the eastern Atlantic from around Ascension Island and St. Paul’s Rocks, at depths of between 2 and 100 m. Length is up to 41 cm.

Egypt is a Greek word meaning “Black.” μαύρος             

• The Egyptians of the Bible were Negroid. 
• The Bible says both Egyptians and Ethiopians are descendants of Ham. 
• Arabs invaded Egypt in the 7th Century AD; Remember, Egypt wasn’t invaded by Rome until 300 BC. The Bible dates 4000 BC. 
• Therefore, Arabs have no more connection to Ancient Egypt than Europeans have to Ancient America. 
• Egyptian is an Afro-Asiatic language. (AFRO, AFRO) 
• The national language of modern day Egypt is Egyptian Arabic, which gradually replaced Coptic. (Coptic–Ethiopia) 
• Black Egyptians were eventually mixed with invading Libyans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Turks, Arabs and Western Europeans. That is where the mixed people of the modern-day Arabs come from. 

The following is supporting evidence from The African Origin of Civilization: by: Cheikh Anta Diop 

Evidence from Physical Anthropology 
The skeletons and skulls of the Ancient Egyptians clearly reflect they were Negroid people with features very similar to those of modern Black Nubians and other people of the Upper Nile and of East Africa. 

Melanin Dosage Test 
Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop invented a method for determining the level of melanin in the skin of human beings. When conducted on Egyptian mummies in the Museum of Man in Paris, this test indicated these remains were of Black people. 

Osteological Evidence 
“Lepsius canon,” which distinguishes the bodily proportions of various racial groups categories the “ideal Egyptian” as “short-armed and of Negroid or Negrito physical type." 

Evidence From Blood Types 

Diop notes that even after hundreds of years of inter-mixture with foreign invaders, the blood type of modern Egyptians is the "same group B as the populations of western Africa on the Atlantic seaboard and not the A2 Group characteristic of the white race prior to any crossbreeding.”



Blue parrotfish (Scarus coeruleus)

The blue parrotfish (aka probably the happiest fish in the world) is a member of the parrotfish genus Scarus. It is found on coral reefs in shallow water in the tropical and subtropical parts of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. They develop a large “beak” like other parrotfish that is used for scraping algae and small organisms from rocks. They have pharyngeal teeth that grind ingested rocks into sand.

photo credits: Kevin Bryant


“Chocolate Chip Sea Cucumber” (Isostrichopus badionotus)

Also known as the Cookie Dough Sea Cucumber, the chocolate chip sea cucumber is a species of Stichopodid sea cucumber which is commonly encountered throughout the western Atlantic Ocean, occurring from North Carolina to the Caribbean and south to Brazil, individuals also occur in western-central Africa. Chocolate chip sea cucumbers typically occur in shallow waters with a wide variety of substrates (sand, mud, rock, etc..). Like most sea cucumbers, I. badionotus is a detritivore combing the sea floor for any detritus it encounters. 


Animalia-Echinodermata-Holothuroideaia-Aspidochrotida-Stichopodidae-Isostichopus-I. badionotus

Images: Hans Hillewaert and Iaszlo-photo


A Conservation Success Story:  The Grey Seal

Also known as the Atlantic seal and the horsehead seal, the grey seal is found in the Western North Atlantic, the British Isles, and the Baltic Sea.  In the United States, its population was nearly wiped out due to hunting for its oil, meat, and skin.  Since 1972 in the United States, and 1970 in the United Kingdom (except for Northern Ireland), seal hunting has been banned.  Since then, the population in the United States has rebounded thanks to migration of seals from the coast of Canada.

Hunting grey seals is currently practiced in eight countries: Canada, where most of the world’s seal hunting takes place, Namibia, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Finland, and Sweden.  All of these countries have quotas, except for Russia.  Canada’s quota is unfortunately very high, and highly criticized.

Images:  1 & 2,  3


Pangaea Ultima is a possible future supercontinent configuration. Consistent with the supercontinent cycle, Pangaea Ultima could occur within the next 250 million years.

Supercontinents describe the merger of all, or nearly all, of the Earth’s landmass into a single contiguous continent. In the Pangaea Ultima scenario, subduction at the western Atlantic, east of the Americas, leads to the subduction of the Atlantic mid-ocean ridge followed by subduction destroying the Atlantic and Indian basin, causing the Atlantic and Indian Oceans to close, bringing the Americas back together with Africa and Europe. As with most supercontinents, the interior of Pangaea Proxima would probably become a semi-arid desert prone to extreme temperatures. [x][x][x]

(more at @annotated-hetalia)

Today is ‪National Oyster Day‬!
Pictured is an illustration of an akoya pearl oyster, which is widespread throughout the tropical and subtropical shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific and western Atlantic regions. An oyster combats parasites or irritants that have penetrated its mantle by coating them with mother-of-pearl, which occasionallly results in the formation of a pearl!

Learn more about oysters and pearls.

Image: Pinctada imbricata (Akoya pearl oyster); Filippo Buonanni, Ricreatione dell’occhio e della mente nell’ Osseruation’ delle Chiocciole … , 1681.

During my recent trip to the beach I came across this strange fish so decided to bring him home to ID. Turns out he’s a species of Triggerfish most likely a Grey Triggerfish.

After researching about them I found out that they are usually found in the western Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. However due to warming sea temperatures they are becoming more common each year off the coast of Scotland.

I’ll hopefully be rotting it down for its bones.


Successful symbiosis - Carijoa octocoral #marineexplorer by John Turnbull
Via Flickr:
The orange stem of carijoa is actually a coating of encrusting sponge which lives in a symbiotic relationship with the coral. It is thought that the toxic sponge protects the coral’s stem from predators, and in return the coral provides a home for the sponge. This is a very successful relationship - if this is C. riisei, it is endemic to the western Atlantic and has spread throughout the Atlantic and Pacific as an invasive species. Bare Island

  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii

The Blue Parrotfish is found in the shallow waters of the western Atlantic ocean and Caribbean sea. They are the only species of parrotfish that are this uniformly blue and only exhibit one yellow spot on their heads which fade as they age. The parrotfish exhibit a beak-like structure similar to other parrotfish. They use this to scrape off algae and other small organisms from rocks. 

Atlantic Deep-sea Scallop (Placopecten magellanicus)

Sometimes known as the “giant scallop”, P. magellanicus is a species of scallop (Pectinidae) which is native to the western Atlantic, where it occurs from the Gulf of St. Lawrence south to Cape Hatteras. Like most bivalves, Placopecten magellanicus is a suspension feeder, filtering the water around it for nutrients. However, like other scallops P. magellanicus possesses the ability to freely swim for short distances by moving water through its valves quickly. 


Animalia-Mollusca-Bivalvia-Pteriomorphia-Ostreoida-Pectinina-Pectinoidea-Pectinidae-Placopecten-P. magellanicus

Image: Dann Blackwood