Archive for May, 2008

Mangrove Propagules… Ready to Drop

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Red Mangrove with nearly mature propagules in front of Duck Key, FL.

It’s that time of the year again in the Florida Keys… Summer is all but here and the red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) are almost ready to drop their mature propagules (a seed pod if you will). These propagules are quite unique in that they become fully formed “plants” even before they fall off the tree (They have already germinated while on the tree itself). When mature, they drop into the water below and float iceberg-style, carried to new locales by water currents, wind, tides, and storms. In ideal circumstances the propagule eventually finds a soft bottom in which to take root. The leaves form from the top of the propagule. Eventually it will produce the iconic mangrove prop root “legs” that help facilitate gas exchange and structural support.

This form of reproduction makes propagating mangroves in saltwater aquaria a relatively easy task. All they need to grow is for the top 1/3 of the propagule to be above the water surface, bright light, a deep sand bed, and occasional “mistings” of freshwater from a spray bottle to wash off built-up salt deposits. These are trees of course, so expect them to eventually grow quite large…

Amano in Reverse

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

I took this photo at the Morikami Japanese Gardens in Delray, Florida this past Sunday. It seemed to me to be a terrestrial equivalent to the lush aquatic worlds created by Takashi Amano. In Amano’s case, spheres of CO2 form on aquatic mosses under intense light in aquaria. Here It is a water droplet, held almost perfectly spherical by moss growing on the base of a bonsai tree.

Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi.

A new species of trap-door spider was recently named after Neil Young.

May Art Walk

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Mandarinfish (Part 2)… Mini Spearguns VS. The Status Quo

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

In the second installment of the mandarinfish saga, I describe a unique method of catching the blue mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus) that doesn’t involve using cyanide or nets. It involves using a teeny-tiny spear gun to (more-or-less) harmlessly capture this beautiful fish. It may sound barbaric, but I conclude that it is relatively harmless, and a less harmful alternative to sodium cyanide poisoning.

Click here to read more about this novel ornamental fishing technique…

In Rainbows

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Check out these videos, the first one (“The Gloaming”) features Jared’s head.

Mandarinfish (Part 1)… A Natural History Primer

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

From August 2006 until April 2007 I lived in Bali, Indonesia working as an intern with the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC Indo). My primary job was writing a simple coral mariculture manual (lagoon-based) useful for local fishermen as a “how to guide”. However, I was also able to follow along on MAC’s primary duties in the field, working with the local ornamental fisherman groups throughout Indonesia.

I have finally had some free time to sift through my journals and photographs, and look forward to posting some interesting articles on the marine aquarium trade in the future.

In this first installment, I describe the natural history of the blue mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus) a popular reef aquarium fish. In the second installment I will go on to describe a fishing technique that doesn’t involve using cyanide or nets. It involves using a teeny-tiny spear gun to (more-or-less) harmlessly capture this beautiful fish. It may sound barbaric, but I conclude that it is relatively harmless, and a superior alternative to sodium cyanide poisoning.

Click here to read more about the natural history and courtship behaviors of the blue mandarinfish…