Thursday, April 29, 2010

The aliens have invaded...well, sort of!

We have had some very fun stuff going on around here in spite of all the rain we've had lately.

My husband is an avid aquarium keeper. Well really we both are, we've had tanks in our homes from the time we were children. We've had both fresh and salt water tanks. Starting out with those poor goldfish won at some carnival ball toss booth as little kids, to now having elaborate reef systems set up with living corals and other denizens of the deep.

In case I haven't mentioned it before, one of the things I really love about my husband is his great sense of adventure. He is just the most fun guy I know! So of course, that translates into a very exciting life! Even when it comes to aquarium keeping! We've been fish and coral collecting in the Caribbean Sea, we've trekked to jungle streams and pools in search of rare specimens. We've spent days floating in a dinghy, hanging over the edge with our rear ends stuck up in the air (makes for a painful sunburn!) searching through clumps of sargassum (floating seaweed) for seahorses and other really intersting sea life.

*Side note* I grew up reading Gerald Durrell's many books. In fact I still have most of my original copies acquired as a girl, which have travelled with me all over the world. He was my hero! I wanted to be just like him when I grew up. He was a naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, and author among other things. (Plus he was homeschooled! How cool is that!!!) He was one of the most influential people ever with regard to collecting animals for captive breeding programs so that endangered species would not be lost forever. I think I'll read his books with my kids this summer! Oh the thought of reading them again makes me almost giddy... silly, probably. But it's like visiting your childhood best friend who you haven't talked to in years! I can't wait to get started now! How exciting! If you have a budding naturalist/zookeeper/animal lover/conservationist in your house, I'd encourage you to check a few of his books out from the library. As a teen my favorite non-fiction book (well one of them ;-)) was a book by Durrell called A Practical Guide for the Amateur Naturalist. It covers activities and things to look for in just about every environment on earth, from deserts, to arctic tundra, jungles, deciduous forests, rocky seashores, to urban backyards and more. I now own two copies of it and use it regularly myself and with my kids. Check it out if you have a chance, and like that sort of thing.

Whew! I said all that to say that I was really gung-ho about all of the adventures my hubby had "dragged" me out on! Sorry, I tend to get rather verbose when excited!

Here is a shot of the beginning of our latest aquarium venture…

Know what that is??? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not funny looking brown grapes. If you look closely at the one on the far right you can see the little guy floating around in there. (Looks like a ghostly white shadow inside)

Here is what came out of one… he’s only about 1 cm or a little over 1/3 of an inch long!

Another one hiding behind the eggs:

Aren’t they just the cutest little things? They are Sepia bandensis or Dwarf Cuttlefish. Cuttlefish aren’t “fish” at all. They are in the family of cephalopods, which means they are related to octopuses, squid and nautilus. They navigate through the water like aquatic hummingbirds hovering gracefully in front of anything that strikes their fancy. My kiddos think they look like little space aliens! Dwarf Cuttlefish grow to an overall length of 2-4 inches (5 to 10 cm). Personally one of my favorite aspects of watching cuttlefish is their ability to rapidly change their skin color. They can flash moving patterns across their skin and can camouflage with their surroundings. So fun to watch!

Cuttlefish are very, very hard to acquire (at least in this half of the world!) But somehow hubby managed to have 6 captive bred eggs sent to him. (Apparently they don’t ship well as already hatched little cuttlefish, but eggs do.) So 3 weeks ago we became proud step-parents to a set of 6 brown squishy grape looking eggs. They started hatching 3 days ago, so far we have 5 babies. I wasn’t able to take any pictures of them hatching. Sneaky little things never hatched while I was watching. The whole family is enjoying them greatly. And the amount of spontaneous studying going on about cuttlefish and the whole cephalopod family makes me very happy! There is nothing like curiosity, to inspire hours of voracious reading! This is homeschooling at it's greatest!

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!! Great reading, I am fully informed,how lucky you are to have a husband who is as keen as you. cheers Marie


I love hearing from you, and I read every comment you leave! It's such a great way to meet new people. Please feel free to leave me a comment so I know you were here! Even if you want to comment on an older post... go ahead! I will still see it!

Related Posts with Thumbnails