If I said six toed elephants, Great Barrier Reef, a deluge of fish, a loveliness of ladybirds, shark hybrids and perfume – you would know what I was referring to – wouldn’t you?!
Satellite image of part of the Great Barrier
Reef adjacent to the Queensland coastal
areas of Airlie Beach and Mackay.
This weird and wonderful world ... our natural wonders, weird events, new species and then the ever changing flora and fauna – that happens so imperceptibly, which fortunately the scientific geeks of today can and do record.
The naturalists of the past started us on this road of knowledge ... Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia (AD 77 – 79); Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist and encyclopaedic author, published 36 volumes of his Histoire Naturelle during his lifetime (1707 – 1788); in England specialisation had started to creep in as seen in my N for Naturalist postunder last year’s A – Z Challenge; ...
The English Channel and the Great Barrier Reef have one thing in common – they became as they are today after the Great Ice Age thaw 20,000 to 10,000 years ago ....
|Cassowary - upper body|
.... woolly mammoths used to roam from England to Europe, while the coastal plain of the Great Barrier Reef was grazed and occupied by early Rainforest and Reef life.
All habitats are interdependent – adapt or die is the world’s maxim: the mammoth died out, the Goanna on Lizard Island adapted to island life by becoming a generalist. The Cassowary lives on ... just.
|A familiar scene - simultaneously|
showing the lithosphere,
hydrosphere and atmosphere
The waters of the lagoon of the Great Barrier Reef offer much to its changing world – the tidal displacements, as too the seasonal ones, the storms, the diurnal cycle – all play a major role within the biosphere of the Reef.
Having just posted about perfume – I was surprised to find that fish exude perfume ... and can be smelled out by other predatory fish e.g. the cone snail, which paralyses its victim before swallowing whole.
While the parrot fish emits a cocoon of mucous to sleep in, but even that can be sensed out by the white tip reef shark through twitching muscles and the bio-electrical signals it emits.
Two species of the black-tip shark (local Australian and global counterpart) have very recently been confirmed by researchers to be interbreeding – ‘which is very surprising, and is not a common occurrence by any stretch of the imagination’.
The elephant “now” has six toes – the sixth one buried beneath the leathery skin of its foot, is not a true toe – it’s more like a panda’s faux thumb, but nonetheless supports the pachyderm’s mighty girth ...
Weird events ... fish falling from the sky – almost certainly a water spout had swept them up and quietly deposited them in suburbia ....
|A loveliness of ladybirds|
.... a loveliness of ladybirds in California – the aphid plague leads to a loveliness profusion.
Cappuccino coast – I posted about it in 2009 – the soup stirred up by the ocean storms meeting the flood enriched waters from the land ... it looks like soap but is a surfactant naturally released by the dying plankton.
The osteopath I have who visits my mother to help her with her joints – both stroked and unstroked – asked if I’d heard of the book ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind ... I bought a copy – and it is fascinating ... about 18th C Paris and a chap who has an extraordinary (almost superhuman) sense of smell. It contains amazing descriptive passages.
|The blacktip shark has black markings|
on most of its fins
The connection of my ‘Perfume posts’ and this book, and then the fact that fish can smell and emit scent – had never ever occurred to me.
|Phidippus Clarus - Hairy jumping spider|
There are many new species being found, evolving, inter-breeding, or scientists are finding out why or how their anatomy is being used ... spiders’ hairs may be specialised independent ears – which nature has optimised as the spider has evolved.
|Unravelling 'strings' ...|
We are in an incredible world where everything in the biosphere – the air and sky, the land, the seas and outer shell of our earth with all its occupants – are forever tied together ...
The lovers Okiku and Yosuke
play cat’s cradle,
by Eishosai Choki (1804)
Japanese Woodblock print
... a ‘string’ releases, yet is tied back to our planet ... we can unravel and understand more ... but those balls of life form the global sum of all ecosystems – our zone of life – everything is and will always be linked.
All is woven together forever, synchronised, constantly evolving, changing, adapting – we only seem to change our thumbs ... so we can text, or perhaps improve our playing of the strings for cat’s cradle.
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