Sunday, March 30, 2014

Invasive Species - Lion Fish

Red lionfish (Pterois volitans)
A problem has been growing off the east coast of the United States. An animal that is known for its beauty and venomous spines, the lion fish, has invaded the waters and its population continues to grow larger. After the first definite sighting in 2002 of a fish off the coast of North Carolina, these fish began popping up all the way from south Florida to as far north as Long Island.

Devil firefish (Pterois miles), aka the common lionfish
There are actually two species involved in this invasion, the red lionfish (Pterois volitans) and the devil firefish (Pterois miles). The exact source of the fish is unclear, but it's believed to be due in part to an unfortunate accident during to Hurricane Andrew. Its likely private aquarium owners are also to blame, as the irresponsible are known to release their unwanted fish into various waterways. This is a terribly common story behind many invasive species.

I first learned about this problem in 2009 and these animals have only grown more numerous in the past few years. They pose serious dangers to reef organisms, as they are quite voracious predators.

Interestingly enough, they are apparently delicious. So, if you are so inclined, some careful fishing could net you quite the interesting meal.

References are the Global Invasive Species Database, Sailors for the Sea, NOAA, and CNN. Images used are from Wikimedia Commons and are under Creative Commons licenses: one, two.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guess the Genotype #89

It's been quite a while since I've done one of these. Part of the reason why is I yet again lost most of the e-mails that have been sent to me by readers. I am going to be hunting for them again, but it's going to take time to find them. To help with this issue, I have a new e-mail specifically for the blog that will allow me to not lose e-mails again.

Anyway, can you guess this guy's genotype? What about his breed?

Image provided by my friend Angela P. Big thanks!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dog Tricks

I've discussed my previous fun times with Ebon and dog training before. My most recent project has been teaching him to carry his leash on walks. It's something I tried once before and failed, but I started over with slightly different tactics and we've made a fair amount of progress. If I coil the leash in a way that keeps him from dragging it he's rather happy to tote the thing around while we walk. I'm trying to make it clear that I want him to keep it in his mouth until I reach out to take it.


I still can't get him to sit without him spitting it out, though.

During training sessions, I have to use two leashes because of local ordinance. One goes in his mouth and the other is looped around my torso.