Thursday, May 21, 2009

I lie to children.

I used to teach swimming lessons in lakes at camps in the summers. This is a lot harder than learning to swim in a pool. It's colder, it's deeper, there are less things to hold on to, and most of the time you can't see the bottom.

I've probably told hundreds of scared children that there's nothing to be afraid of, that there are no sharks in lakes, that the fish are friendly and can't hurt them.

Today, I had to make a photo gallery of invasive species - that's plants, animals, bugs and fungi that were brought here from somewhere else and are now taking over. This ugly bastard is one of the photos.

This is the cutline I wrote to go with it:

"The sea lamprey is an eel-like, jawless fish that entered the Great Lakes from the east coast of the United States through the canal system. It feeds like a monster in a low − budget horror movie − it uses its mouth to attach itself to a healthy fish, gore through its scales and skin with its tongue, and suck out its fluids. The sea lamprey has contributed to the extinction of three species of cisco fish and the collapse of commercial fisheries. (Invasive Species Specialist Group)"

That's right, kids. There are no sharks in lakes. But counsellor Claire didn't tell you there are FOOT-LONG BLOOD-SUCKING VAMPIRE EELS.

Sweet dreams.

1 comment:

The Science Manly said...

You have NO idea how happy that post made me. It put a smile on my face. Not only is it Biology/Zoology related, but it also has an animal (the sea lamprey) which I have studied and even dissected.

Good job, Claire ... very impressed with your cut-line. What other species did you include?
Asian Longhorn? Emerald Ash Borer? Zebra Mussel? Purple loosestrife? Starlings? Dutch-Elm disease? Nile Perch?

Anyway, the lamprey is definitely a gross one, and here's a cool fact. Only ONE out of every seven fish attacked by a lamprey survive.

But, it's not the weirdest fish out there ... If you REALLY wanna see something that ranks up there for most disgusting and disturbing sea animal?

Check out my post tomorrow ;)