QUIMERA DIVERS

DISCOVER THE SEA WITH MARINE BIOLOGISTS

May

06

TOUCH ME, IF YOU DARE

fireworm

They call me Marilyn Monroe because I look soft and delicate and everyone can enjoy my company but no one can touch me. Mother Nature has given me a wonderful way to protect myself and for this reason I am full of confidence and oozing with as much sexiness that a worm can have. Slowly and stealthily I cross over the monotonous under water rocks not caring about anything or anyone. My life is easy and carefree because I always carry my secret with me. My white velvet coat, which is the envy of several other animals, is not just a coat but also a powerful weapon that protects me against predators or animals that are looking for a quick snack. My coat is composed of a set of micro tubes of calcium carbonate that contains a toxin that gives a burning sensation to animals that want to try me. This hot, burning sensation has led me to have the common name, Fire worm. With my electrifying personality and no nonsense nature, I break the monotony of the living environment around me.

Jacqui de Klerk

 

BSc Physiology (UCT)

 

jacqui@jdeklerk.co.za

 

 

 

Apr

20

THE SEA’S FLASHING LOVE

 

buceo_santa marta_quimeradivers

Caribbean reef squid – Sepioteuthis sepioidea  Photo: Diego Avila

My dear children, it was an ordinary day out in the blue sea and I was swimming with my buddies in search of food. With the left side of my body, I flashed a warning to my friends by changing the colour and pattern of my skin, to tell them I thought I saw a predator approaching us. And with the right side of my body, I sent a message that there is probably food close by. All of a sudden something beautiful caught my huge eyes. And you should trust me on this, as we squids have the biggest eye-to-body ratio in the entire animal kingdom. It was love at first sight and I couldn’t hide my attraction to her as my body changed to the colour of love in an instant. I swam slowly up to her and started to stroke her with my tentacles, hoping I would win her over. At first she was alarmed and her skin flashed a distinct pattern, and having been in the dating scene for some time; I knew well what that meant. To calm her down I repeatedly blew water in her face and darted away, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to resist my good looks and charm. We danced like this for over an hour and eventually she accepted my offer to be her mate. We spent a magical time together sharing our flashes of love and soon you guys arrived. I was so happy but knew that the next step would be to lose her, since the sad reality of a squid’s life is the loss of the mother after she lays her eggs. I know this is the sad part of our story, but remember to be a reef squid is to have the beautiful opportunity to be able to express our thoughts and feelings using flashes of colours; unlike no other sea animal.

Jacqui de Klerk

 

BSc Physiology (UCT)

 

jacqui@jdeklerk.co.za

 

 

Apr

19

LION-FISH HUNGRY BEAUTIFUL DISASTER

lionfish

Lion-fish Photo: Diego Avila.
 
Indigenous to the Indo-Pacific Ocean Pterois,commonly known as the Lion-fish, is slowly wrecking havoc in the calm waters of the Great Caribbean.
Several hypotheses run around the reason of how this fish first appeared in the Caribbean, but the reality of the problem is that this hungry firey fish has no direct predators and with its ravenous stomach is currently feeding on several local juvenile fish.
This is a normal day in the life of the Lion-fish: surrounded by a huge buffet of easy-access food.This extranjero has found heaven feasting in foreign waters; lets cross our fingers and hope Mother Nature steps in to save the local fish and restore the delicate balance.
Jacqui de Klerk
BSc Physiology (UCT)
http://jdeklerk.co.za
jacqui@jdeklerk.co.za

Apr

19

THE WALKING FISHERMAN OF THE SEA

batfishBatfish – Ogcocephalus parvus. Photo: Diego Avila.

 

Not all fishermen exist above the surface of the ocean. If you look below, there is a fish that is terrible at swimming due to his short and fat fins which don’t allow him to swim; so he literally walks along the ocean floor. All the other fish laughed at him and made fun of his attempt to produce stylish aquatic movements. To avoid being teased he hid amongst the rocks; away from the humiliation that his pitiful body encouraged. Amid the rocks he felt sad, lonely and even hungry because he wasn’t able to catch food like the other fish. Surrounded by these mixed feelings he looked up and to his astonishment his delicious food was swimming right above him just waiting to be gobbled up. He then realized that his main dorsal fin is actually an awesome weapon that he can use like a fishing rod, and by just dangling it out from behind the rocks he can trick unsuspecting prey. His friends saw his adaptive brilliance of how he walks and uses his dorsal fin as a protractible rod and they no longer laughed at him, but instead saw him as a fantastic fish. They nicknamed him “the walking fisherman”, and if you ever find yourself diving, look carefully amongst the rocks for a small yellowish to purple flat, triangular fish with his fishing rod stretched out, and know that you are in the presence of an adaptive genius.

Jacqui de Klerk

BSc Physiology (UCT)

 

jacqui@jdeklerk.co.za