Nov 13, 2008

Giant and Cuttley

Photo source: Doug Anderson
I've gone diving quite a bit, and on low-visibility days I've found it hard not to look over my shoulder every so often, just to make sure some leviathan or denizen of the deep hasn't crept up on me. Or at least to make sure that the monster targeted my dive buddy first. I guess I've always been afraid that I'd turn around and see something like this looming behind me (those tentacles can only be intended to grip my head in a bid for siphoning out my brains).

But I wouldn't ever encounter this creature in my California coast diving. This is Sepia apama, the Australian Cuttlefish. These are the largest cuttlefish in the world, often weighing in excess of 11 lbs (5kg). That's not too much mollusk to be afraid of, but still, you'd be in their environment, and these creatures are very intelligent (the most intelligent of the marine invertebrates, according to some). They can crawl, swim, move by jet propulsion, are attracted to bright colors (like my pasty pink skin), and are curious about divers.

If you do want to see one in person, get in line. Every year, from June to August, these creatures assemble in the waters of Whyalla, Australia, to mate (a romantic event involving the male placing his spermatophore inside a pouch just below the female's mouth, followed by the sperm-filled capsule bursting). And they do so in enormous numbers.

Divers, photographers, and researchers come every year from all parts of the world to witness the spectacle. I might go myself, though tthose dangerous beaks and rasping tongues make the prospect daunting (oh, and the cost of travel).

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's Cthulhu! Get in the car!

Flartus said...

"Hmph, never even made callbacks for that ridiculous Nemo movie. Wait'll they get a load of my 'Catching a Cuddlefish' script, then they'll come begging."

Denita TwoDragons said...

"...(those tentacles can only be intended to grip my head in a bid for siphoning out my brains)."

Naw, they'd rather be sipping a spinal-fluid cocktail in a fancy club in the Underdark. Your grey matter would be too coarse for their refined tastes...you'd be more useful as forced labor than a meal... ;-)

--TwoDragons (who shamelessly admits to owning several sets of numbered polyhedrals)

Raging Wombat said...

Denita, are you thinking Illithid here? Mindflayer? If so...

Vanessa said...

Neato!

Denita TwoDragons said...

*hands bubblegum cigar to Wombat*

So I'm presuming you also know that dice come in more than six sides, hmm? :-)

--TwoDragons

Raging Wombat said...

Um...yes I do. Quite a few varieties, actually. Got a whole stash upstairs...

:)

Denita TwoDragons said...

I had to keep my collection to a minimum. Otherwise I'd have a mess on my hands!

So it's one set of minis, one set of aurora purple iridescents, one set of blue flecks, and a cube of d6's. The purples get the most mileage, unless the 20 throws consistently bad.

Someday I'll have a Crown Royal bag to store them in, and my set will truly be complete... ;-)

--TwoDragons