15 June 2007

Unpacific seas

What would the world be like if people were addicted to pacific relations between each other, and holidayed from that to visit stormy beaches? I imagine that I would complain mightily, because there would be so many other treasure-seekers, competing. – but no!

They wouldn't compete, would they? I wouldn't either, unless I could manage to be unreformed to person (why hog?) the treasures as mine, all mine!

Spiny Pipehorse Solegnathus spinosissimus (Family: Syngnathidae)

This was found in Berrara, southern New South Wales this wild-weathered week. The photo cryptically cuts off the face because it has lost its lovely snout.

Read the Australian Museum's page on this creature.

See Dr Paddy Ryan's site for spectacular pictures of male and female Solegnathus spinosissimuses, and other Syngnathidae - Seahorses, pipefishes, seadragons
His pictures of the above species were taken in New Zealand, where they are called Spiny seadragons.

A must-have book, especially for people who don't live near the sea:

I'm neither a diver nor a fisherman, but find Rudie H. Kuiter's The Complete Divers' & Fishermen's Guide to Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia an essential guide and an utterly enthralling treasure-trove.

I can say without reservation that this book is as good as a cookbook for escapist reading, and as good as the best science fiction for inspiration. Not only are the pictures of fishes stranger than fictive, but the information about their lives is both fascinating and written with just the right balance: a know-nothing like me can learn without being drowned by technical terms. And if you don't want to learn but just have fun, the names of fishes are delightful. The 'Pictorial Guide to Families' at the front is also a model of elegant simplicity.

I reached for Coastal Fishes to learn about that strange creature with the prehensile tail just as I did, this:

Pufferfish (Family: Tetraodontidae)

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