Scavenger Hunt Check-In
· iNaturalist.org: undefined
All That the Rain Promises and More! I have this book and I love it. It’s so full of joyful pictures of people and mushrooms:
You guys are totally missing the best pictures from actual mycologists
Oh to be the man in these stock photos…
Yeah that book was the assigned text for my mycology class. Mycologists are very special people, I love them.
September 7, 2019
Consider this your o-fish-al welcome to Monterey Bay, Hoodwinker Sunfish! You certainly had us fooled 😅
Divers in Monterey Bay have photographed two hoodwinker sunfish this year—the first confirmed sightings of this new species of sunfish in Central California!
A hoodwinker sunfish being cleaned by señorita wrasses off of Pacific Grove. Video: Joe Platko
Known to science as Mola tecta, the hoodwinker sunfish was officially described in 2017 by Dr. Marianne Nyegaard at Australia’s Murdoch University.
The word “tecta” is Latin for hidden—a perfect moniker for a hoodwinker. Mola tecta were thought to live mainly in the cold waters around Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Chile.
But then, earlier this year, a massive hoodwinker sunfish washed up in Santa Barbara!
This sighting of Mola tecta was tantalizing for sunfish researchers: Are hoodwinkers new arrivals to the area, carried by Chile’s cool Humboldt current and somehow punching their way through the equator and into our temperate waters due to some climatic abnormality? Or have hoodwinkers been around these parts for some time, hiding in plain sight until Marianne’s discovery gave attentive observers the right clues to look for? Maybe a little bit of both? Something else entirely?
Mola mola, known as the common sunfish, in the Open Sea display at the Aquarium
Mola tecta found in Monterey Bay just offshore of Pacific Grove. This was the first confirmed sighting of a Mola tecta in Monterey Bay. Photo: Jr Sosky
Key characteristics of Mola tecta for identification. Photo: Jr Sosky/Marianne Nyegaard
A blessing in disguise
Whatever the case, there are now at least two more Mola tecta confirmed here in California, and the first ever identified in Monterey Bay.
In early August, a merry band of underwater photographers came across a large ocean sunfish being cleaned by señorita wrasses at Eric’s Pinnacle, a rocky outcrop off Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove.
Our (erroneous) post on Twitter. More social media copy mistakes that lead to discoveries of new sunfish species in our backyard, please!
Mola mola is no stranger to the Monterey Bay—we see youngsters and heavyweights throughout the year just offshore of the Aquarium, and we’ve frequently had them on display in the Open Sea.
(You may know Mola mola better from the expletive-ridden video of a Boston fisherman coming across a sea monster in this viral video https://youtu.be/r0IQCLQDfKw , or perhaps you’ve read the decidedly contrarian hate-click account of how “useless” sunfish are. )
Weighing nearly 5,000 pounds and spanning over 11 feet from tip to tip, Mola mola is one of the heaviest bony fishes in the sea (its Western Pacific cousin, the bumphead sunfish Mola alexandrini is just a touch heavier in the record books.)
Something fishy about that fishy…
Content with our content, we looked to see what you all thought of this magical “Mola mola”—and that’s when things got exciting!
A comment right here on Tumblr by Drop Science mentioned that this fish looked more Mola tecta than Mola mola. The two are remarkably similar in appearance, but there are a few tells. Most noticeably, a Mola tecta caudal fin is is divided by a smooth band projecting backwards to the fin’s edge.
Intrigued, we forwarded more images from Joe Platko and his dive buddy Jr Sosky to Senior Aquarist and resident mola expert Michael Howard.
Michael has been instrumental in our ocean sunfish program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium over several decades, pioneering training methods, specialized diets and tracking programs for these megafish. The Aquarium is the only one to successfully display Mola mola in North America.
Growing from just a few dozen pounds to several hundred, our resident sunfishes are released back to the wild. Once back in the bay, Michael’s satellite tags have revealed that Mola mola may migrate very far up and down the coast, and spend considerable time diving into the deep sea to feed on a varied diet of jellies, squid, crabs and other fare.
After reviewing the images, Michael thought there was certainly the chance that a hoodwinker had been found. He got us in touch with Marianne Nyegaard herself, and she confirmed that these were indeed the first images of a live Mola tecta in Monterey Bay!
Then, just three weeks later, diver Wei Wei Gao happened upon another Mola tecta off of Cannery Row!!
A hoodwinker sunfish filmed off Cannery Row. Video: Wei Wei Gao
A tecta-nic shift in our sunfish understanding!
In email exchanges that used up both of our yearly supplies of exclamation points, Dr. Marianne remarked that these sightings show just how little we know about one of the ocean’s most iconic fishes.
Michael is now diving into our records to see if there’s a chance we have had a Mola tecta hidden in our studies. And as for us, we’re buzzing with excitement at the discovery of this neighbor in our backyard, pleasantly deceived by a hoodwinker sunfish, and awestruck by the limitless wonder and mystery of our beloved Monterey Bay.
The first-ever confirmed Mola tecta in Monterey Bay being cleaned by señorita wrasses. Welcome to the neighborhoodwinker! Video: Joe Platko.
September 5, 2019
this morning my starbucks is all women, so when i ordered it was all “i love your glasses!” “that drink is soooo good” “have a great day babe!” which is amazing showstopping incredible BUT yesterday the same starbucks was staffed by all guys and my interaction went kind of like this:
first guy, unprompted: we’re trying to help john name his scorpion
his coworker, leaning around him: here’s a list of names you should vote or write your own
john: AGGRESSIVELY SHOWS ME PICTURE OF BABY SCORPION
But… I need both of these interactions. Ideally combined.
One of my friends had a (live) scorpion in his pocket at a Taylor Swift concert. No reason, he just happened to have one on him. He didn’t show it to anyone or tell anyone about it. Missed opportunity, in my opinion.
September 4, 2019
I can't believe I've gone so long in my life without seeing your art! My other half is a little creeped out but I think it's absolutely beautiful! Do you sell prints by any chance?
well thanks! being just a little creepy is my goal i think,
for prints, i’ve thought about it a lot but 1) i’m lazy and 2) i don’t want to lose a bunch of money making fancy prints of my stuff only for nobody to buy them. i keep hearing that redbubble does decent prints on demand, so that could work. does anyone have experience using it, or buying prints from it and can confirm that they’re good quality? or does anyone want to recommend a better alternative?
also i’ve drawn a lot of stuff so i’d be interested to know which of my things people think they would actually buy? would people also want, idk, fuckin stickers or shirts of particular designs? if i get enough of a response here i will probably try to do the thing in a week or two.
An example of camouflage: Carolina Grasshopper
Something fuzzy: Delicate Cycnia caterpillar
Something spiky: Field Thistle
A symbiotic relationship: Common Greenshield Lichen
Something yellow and black: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Something brown and white: Common Buckeye
Something purple and green: New York Ironweed
Something really common in your area: Common Ragweed
Something not native to your area: Mile-a-minute Weed
A bee native to your area: Common Eastern Bumble Bee
A plant gall: Goldenrod Bunch Gall Midge
I will reblog with additions as I find more.
September 1, 2019
My larvae are dummy thicc and the clap of their poo falling on plastic keeps alerting the dog
The Polyphemus poo falling sounded like a soothing hailstorm (I had a lot of them)
August 30, 2019
my library purchased a new copy of this this year! I’m going to try and convince our collections department that actually, this was a Mistake and it should be weeded immediately but in the meantime, please, i need someone to share my pain (Submitted by exhausted librarian)
this submission is causing me real physical pain like its literally like getting punched in the gut multiple times. i’m assuming here that this was a conscious choice, because i cannot imagine getting a biology book for kids published with this kind of flagrant mistake.
like not to Go Off but first of all this was a science communicator who decided this was a good way to go about talking about mushrooms and fungi because apparently kids can’t understand that mushrooms are a different thing like plants and animals are different things, and then the publisher agreed that yes, this is good, we can totally heavily imply/outright state that mushrooms are plants by putting them on the front and back cover under the words “a book about plants without flowers” and then further imply/outright state that all plants that dont flower (apparently including mushrooms) fall under the ‘gymnosperm’ label, which by the way is another thing: if we’re assuming that the author did this to try to dumb it down for kids because referring to fungi as ‘not plants’ is too complicated, WHY are they using the ‘gymnosperm’ terminology on the back cover and WHY are they applying that term to all plants that don’t flower?? or are they using it as a specific example of plants that don’t flower, in which case it’s a poorly placed description??? like you gotta choose!!! are you gonna be specific or not!!!
also not to be Like That but JUST saying this strikes me as an example of like… very poor attention being given to botany and mycology in primary education. if you came to a kid’s publisher with a book that was like, ‘things that don’t walk: animals without legs’ and it had bacteria illustrated all over the cover and the back cover was like ‘WHAT is the squamata reptile family and WHY don’t they have legs’ i DOUBT that would fly lmao
Lying to kids about science is the absolute worst thing you can possibly do, ever.
This makes me SO MAD.
August 26, 2019
Stop! Treating! Kids! Like! They’re! Fucking! Idiots!
Yes, obviously phrase things in a way that they can understand, but stop dumbing shit down and making outright false statements just so those poor dumb widdle kids can understand uwu
Teach kids big words! Teach them the difference between one thing and another! Stop churning out garbage and treating it like gold!
When I was in 3rd grade, I checked out a literal field guide to mushrooms from my school’s library (like, a real field guide adults would use), and I read that thing cover to cover. It was so interesting! It was my favorite book I read in elementary school! I loved it!
Then I had to sit in science class and “learn” that mammals were mammals because they had fur/hair (whales have eyelashes if you look close!), and that atoms looked like a nucleus with electons orbiting around them like a mini solar system. Then in high school I learned that everything they said in elementary school was wrong, and I had to start all over! I was pissed off!!! Then I got to college, and learned everything from high school was wrong, too!
We owe kids better than that! Stop lying to them!!!!
August 26, 2019
You aren't a qualified or practicing scientist, tho. You're a full-time student, who can't support themselves through their "work", that hasn't even completed grad school at MASTERS lvl never mind at PhD lvl or postdoc. You're not even published. You just happen to have a blog, & style yourself as an "expert". I'm employed full-time as a scientist, published, and have completed multiple postgrad degrees. And I'm for animal rights, and I'm vegan. We exist; fuck you. You're not qualified.
Honey me and you both know the most education you’ve had is your high school biology class and the only degree I’d believe you have is a degree in clowning.
I also have a publication in review at the moment, and I’ll be publishing the current work I’m doing. Give me your contact details and I’ll be sure to email you a copy when it gets approved.