By Melissa Nehmens
This time of year offers the chance to provide a romanticized explanation of autumn on the central coast. I could explain how here at Moss Landing the weather is turning colder, the leaves are changing color, and the storm clouds bring a scented promise of the rains to come. However, we have more important things to discuss: Halloween!
This past weekend was Moss Landing Marine Labs’ annual Halloween Party. Everyone came in costumes and as part of the tradition, each lab or group brought their pumpkin to be judged by the student body in the pumpkin carving contest. Though officially there was only one winner, I think everyone did a great job. What do you think?
Halloween, however isn’t just about carving pumpkins, it also calls for sweet treats and telling tales of the unusual and scary! Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins may be the usual topic of conversation when talking about things that go bump in the night, but my favorite scary creatures to discuss are those truly unusual, and of course, found in the ocean!
One of my favorite “scary” species is the Goblin Shark. Though it is no threat to humans, as it lives very deep, those jaws are a bit spooky!
(To find out more about the Goblin Shark: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/goblinshark/goblinshark.html)
Another favorite spooky creature of mine is a Bone Worm. These worms feed on skeletons of dead whales! How’s that for an evolutionary adaption?
(To find out more about Bone worms: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/pictures/130813-bone-eating-worm-osedax-whale-antarctic-ocean-science/)
And last, but certainly not least is the Blobfish. While in water the blobfish has a fairly normal appearance, but out of water – due to low tissue density – its appearance is a bit unusual!
(To find out more about Blobfish: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/13-of-the-ugliest-animals-on-the-planet/blobfish)