"If we and the rest of the backboned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the land's ecosystems would collapse."
David Attenborough

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Its been a while...

Its been a while since my last post. Over a year in fact- but what a year its been. I have been away from home for work a lot, I have had a daughter, add this together and I have not had much time left over for blogging. That is hopefully going to change in the coming months, but in the meantime, here is a link to a downright weird picture of a sea hare...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Going inside a Giant Squid!

I love a good mollusc dissection, and giant cephalopod anatomy is especially groovy. Check out this video of an educational dissection with awesome narration by Dr.Mark Norman from the Museum of Victoria. I wish I could have been there!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Manic Limpets!

Limpets are one of those animals which people struggle to see as animate creatures. They live life in slow motion but also they keep that lid-like shell clamped down most of the time we encounter them- its hard to believe that are really alive and not just lumps on the rocks. But speed them up a hundred times or so and they really spring into action!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scallop dredging- wrecking the seas

I love molluscs. I love finding them. I love watching them. I love learning about them. And I love eating them. They could be the food of the future, efficiently converting unusable resources into nutritious meat for everyone. Marine mollusc farming is an awesome innovation which protects wild stocks from damaging over-harvesting. Sometime the methods used to harvest wild molluscs are damaging too- none more so than scallop dredging.
This shocking video from the UK graphically illustrates, aside from the gritty and low-quality nature of the catch, why we should all avoid buying scallops. (sure, its theoretically possible to get superior diver-caught scallops which do no damage to the seabed but I have never seen them for sale in Australia and only rarely in the UK).
So, don't reward this sort of environmental abuse with your money. Only buy sustainably harvested molluscs: for more information see the excellent Sustainable Seafood Guide from AMCS.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Well, I've had a few complaints that its been over a month since the last post- not a good look for a weekly blog! Apologies for my tardyness. I've been busy overseas with less internet access than I anticipated. If its any consolation I had a few mollusc-related encounters while away which will lead to some cool posts in the future.
That promised post on mollusc intelligence is still in gestation. In the meantime...

On my return to glorious Central Australia the weather greeted me with 3 days of cloud and rain. Although temperatures were low there was some nocturnal snail activity around Alice Springs, including one of my favourite local desert pulmonates; the beautiful Blue Horned Snail Pleuroxia adcockiana. Little has been written about this animal but in one text it is given the common name 'Adcock's Land Snail', derived from the latin name no doubt. As is oft the case with desert snails few people have seen them alive in the wild. On viewing this species in action I am always struck by its unusual body colouring. I took this video last year and it is possibly the first ever of any 'Pleuro'. It really shows the animal at its best- nice shell sculpture, milky white body and those long blue tentacles.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Octopus intelligence: tool use in the wild.

I am planning a post soon on the topic of molluscan intelligence. In the meantime, here is a nice example of an invertebrate with smarts.