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Friday, June 27, 2014

Fish, Explained.

Today we are going to examine some of the unique creatures that live in the oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams of our world.  There is a certain peace in watching these delightful animals sail silently, seemingly without effort.  It is a wonderful group of diverse, well adapted animals who have evolved with the singular purpose of surviving underwater.  That fact alone makes them interesting, and unique.  Beyond that, though, there are so many traits that make them noteworthy, and worthy of their own blog post.

We will start with Electric Eel.  A totally unique fish, that can produce an electrical current, that is kind of cool, a little floating battery.  NPR said "a six foot electric eel was like a 6 inch fish attached to 5 1/2 foot cattle prod."  Maybe that isn't so cool.  Some estimates claim that this apex predator can generate up to 500 volts, which is used to stun prey, for self defense, and sometimes just to be a jerk.  Obviously, this animal will not make a good pet, and if you see one while swimming across a South American river you should swim a little faster, and pretend you are not edible, or interesting.

Let's move on to Sting Rays, shall we.  They look like huge dinner plates swimming, gliding peacefully.  It is a beautiful animal, majestic, serene, and gentle.  Wait a minute, what's this about a venomous spine.  Apparently this noble creature, sailing politely through the placid waters has "an arrow like barb, that pierces the venom sac, along with the skin of the victim and introduces a venomous slime!!! into the wound."  A venomous slime, that is a truly loathsome, despicable act.  What kind of animal would do that?!?!?!  Why would anybody even consider getting in a river with an animal capable of that atrocity?

And don't even ask about jellyfish, sharks or squid.

For your own well being it would be best to stay out of any body of water bigger than a swimming pool, and look carefully in the pool before you risk that.  It seems that everything that swims is lethal, whether it involves toxins, or razor sharp teeth, or long, uncountable tentacles, and is just waiting for a shot at some poor, unsuspecting human, willing to send them into the great unknown, and maybe have a little snack as well. When Coleridge wrote;

"He prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us
He made and loveth all.

he was not talking about fish!
That concludes today's episode, don't forget to tune in tomorrow when will discuss spiders that eat fish.  Yes, fish eating spiders, turns out you are not safe anywhere.  (Don't forget to donate generously to Life Explained colonizes Mars, for a fish, and spider free future, it is our only hope.)