The Secret Worlds of The Best Animals You’ve Never Heard Of

For this post I went back in time to the years of my Bachelors in Animal Biology, took a lil’ stroll in the old mind palace if you will, to when I learned about so many cool animals I never even knew existed. Here I compiled a random sampling of my favourites with some recent research that’s been done on each species. I actually learned a lot researching for this article, there’s much more going on in the microcosms of these species’ lives than I expected. Enjoy a peek into the secret worlds of these fascinating creatures!

1. The Common Seadragon: Phyllopteryx taeniolatus

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The magical seadragon is like a Hayao Miyazaki illustration brought to life. These relatives of the seahorse inhabit the waters around the south coast of Australia and Tasmania.

Seadragons are basically the majestic, tricked-out, LSD version of seahorses. This species is also called the weedy seadragon because its lobe-like fins and squiggly shape help it fit in quite well with seaweed for camouflage. Being closely related to seahorses, they also have that fun feminist slant where the male incubates and cares for the eggs. Male seadragons actually lack a pouch to store the eggs, opting instead to carry eggs on their tail. But mostly, they are just entrancingly gorgeous to flick through on Google images for a good half-hour. Individual seadragons can actually be identified uniquely from one another using the pattern of spots and blotches on their abdomens! It’s like a fingerprint, except huge and all over your stomach. Like maybe if I wanted to dress up as a seadragon for Halloween, I could just paint “MY NAME IS SARAH” on my stomach. A totally accessible joke that everyone will understand. Continue reading

Sunburnt, Barefoot, and Cradling a Six-pack

Only in New Zealand do I ever end up fitting the description in this title. Yes, this is how we found ourselves at the end of my latest travel excursion: a stumbling tomato-red UV-destroyed lump just hoping to clutch together the disintegrating cardboard holding a 6 pack of Coronas for one more block back to the hostel. NZ, you turn me into a such a millenial vagabond.

Okay, let’s rewind: this slow descent into greasy hippie disaster began with my hiking trip into the Abel Tasman region three days yon. (Can I say that? I want to say it.) Three days ago. After two days’ preparation, because hiking by yourself is a total bummer when it comes to time spent planning, I attached a small porpoise to my back, took a squinty pre-departure selfie, and headed off down the Abel Tasman coast track on the South Island of New Zealand.

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The Art of Science

There’s a little-known niche in the already niche-y world of scientific publishing: scientific illustrations. These are drawings that researchers request from artists to demonstrate something that they want to explain in a publication: for example, if you study the anatomy of a poorly-described insect species, it’s way easier to have an artist draw a diagram for you than to try to describe “the ventral protrusion of the 6th abdominal tergite.” No one likes that sentence.

What everyone does like are gorgeous renderings of rare and bizarre animals, the insides of cells, and ancient creatures brought back to life! These are the beautiful things that science illustrations bring us.

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Photography and Departing to the Other Side of the World

Dearest readership, hear ye hear ye: I finally updated my Canada photography on this blog! Sounds like a cute little task, but has actually been the cumulative effort of the past several weeks, sorting through all the old photos I have fermenting on my computer and deciding which are worthy to start a new fermentation process here on the internet. See below a sampling of oldies-but-goodies that I found, plus some new stuff from a recent weekend trip to Saguenay (a region in northern Québec that is currently a winter wonderland).

Well, that collage has no unifying theme and I love it.

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