Monday, 30 January 2012
Davy Jones' pan-species locker
Take sponges. There are in the region of 400 species of sponge to tempt the pan-lister, but Paul Naylor throws in a curve-ball by suggesting that microscopic examination is often essential to clinch an ID.
This book has caused me to adopt an ambition marine mammal, although I doubt that I'll ever see one. The Fireworks Anemone is big, spectacular and inhabits deep water such as the bottom of muddy Scotish sea-lochs. Another thing that is obvious is that the biologists that have given these sea creatures their English names have used the simple trick of looking at them, deciding what they resemble, and calling them just that - hence Strawberry Anemone, Dahlia Anemone, Breadcrumb Sponge, Chocolate Finger Sponge, Prawn Cracker Sponge (I'm not making these up). Now all I have to do is buy an oxygen tank, a pair of flippers, an underwater camera and start inroads into the 7,000 ticks on offer. Lundy, anyone?