Tag Archives: jellyfish

The Discovery of Species

As tech-savvy human beings armed with our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps and other excellent technologies, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re not just curious explorers or chroniclers of the manufactured and natural worlds. We’re animals, too, and are part of the community of strange and exotic creatures that we investigate and dutifully record. In discovery of the world, we discover something integral to our own being. This year is already a fascinating foray into that very exploration, with several new species coming to light in some of the most inhospitable or least expected environments.

A Tiny Frog in Karnataka, India

This guy's chirp sounds like a cricket's.

Hey there, little fella. [Image: www.techtimes.com/]

The Laterite narrow-mouthed frog was recently discovered in the Indian state of Karnataka in a namesake laterite marsh area that occurs around rural and semi-urban human settlements. It likely remained undocumented because of its diminutive stature—it is roughly the size of a thumbnail. But its discovery in a developed area is instructive and a crisp reminder that, just because there’s an established human presence somewhere, doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to discover!

Creepy-Crawly in the Southern Oregon Coast Range, Oregon

[Image: www.phys.org]

What has eight legs, too many eyes, and probably wears a neon sign that blazes NOPE? Why, Cryptomaster behemoth, of course! [Image: www.phys.org/]

This spider was recently found in the woods of southwestern Oregon. It was named “behemoth” because its size outstrips nearly all of the other nearly 4,100 described Laniatores, and “Cryptomaster” because it’s good at remaining unseen. Thankfully the behemoth, like most spiders, is perhaps as disinterested in us as we are it and keeps itself hidden beneath decaying leaves and fallen trees of the old-growth forests in the Southern Oregon Coast Range.

Octopod says, “Aloha!” in Hawaiian Archipelago

Thanks, Okeanos!

Another previously unknown creature of the deep to grab our attention and make us think about ecosystems beyond our commutes? Thanks, Okeanos! [Image: www.itv.com/]

Researchers also made another many-legged discovery this year: a disarmingly cute octopod scientists are calling “Casper.” The indeterminately friendly octopus has un-muscled arms, with only a single row of the usual suction cups, and beady black eyes set adorably in its milky-white mantle. But Casper hasn’t been much described by researchers beyond its cursory appearance, as it revealed itself to NOAA scientists while Okeanos Explorer, the remotely operated underwater vehicle, explored the Hawaiian Archipelago. What we do know is that it dwells much deeper in the ocean than its known octopus cousins and that the wee cephalopod serves to keep our expectations in check.

I Don’t Think You’re Ready for this Jelly…Near the Mariana Trench

Cue Twilight Zone music.

In an environment called and characterized as the Midnight Zone, it helps to have glowing reproductive organs, which scientists suppose this jellyfish has in the golden orbs that are very likely its gonads. [Image: www.eutopia.buzz/]

The Mariana Trench is one of the last great terrestrial frontiers to thwart explorers and befuddle scientists, and it’s no wonder that it remains a consistent source of discovery and veritable fount of new species. What is a wonder are the extraterrestrial qualities of the creatures that thrive in that deep, dark pit beneath the ocean. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is in the midst of conducting a survey of the baseline formation and the areas around the trench that began April 20 and will extend to July 10. Already several new and exciting species have been encountered, but the jellyfish with a “jack-o-lantern meets the future of spaceship engineering” appearance has been a thus-far highlight of the exploration. With more than a month to go, we’d all do well to keep our eyes peeled for more live cam weirdness and intrigue!

Humans are one of the most adaptive and widespread species on the planet, thanks in large part to our combined intelligence and technology. This indispensable combo not only helps us persevere in all sorts of extreme conditions, but also allows us to engage with curiosity in our surroundings. As technologies improve, we are able to explore our world at deeper depths, in greater detail on microscopic and subatomic levels, across more of the electromagnetic spectrum, and sometimes—perhaps just to keep our collective ego in check—right in front of our faces.

*hop*

Or even on our faces! (Happy belated, David!) [Image: www.primogif.com/]

The moral of the story is, of course, that you can get out, explore, and maybe even find a new species in places you have been to before. Our Pocket Ranger® apps are a technology that is here to help. Whether your discovery is new to the scientific community or to you in your observations, it’s your duty as a human to investigate! And it’s always worth the adventure.

Beach Safety

Ah, springtime, how we’ve missed you and your warm embrace so. With spring comes, of course, the warm weather, longer daylight hours, and eventually the long-awaited summer.

Sometimes it feels like summer is years away (especially lately here on the East Coast where we’ve been experiencing some not-very-spring-like temperatures and lots of rain), but in fact, summer is actually pretty close. And with summer brings two of our favorite things: sun and sand.

If you’re planning to make your way to the beach this summer, there a few things to keep in mind so you end up having a relaxing time outdoors. After all, what else is more relaxing than spreading out under an umbrella on the sand in front of the water? Beaches are practically made to be stress-free!

California beach.

Seriously, this photo just radiates “relaxation.” [Image: http://fineartamerica.com/]

Friends that swim together don’t get separated in dangerous riptides together.

Probably the most dangerous thing you can encounter at the beach are rip currents. They’ll pull and push you around, and before you know it, you’re farther from the beach than you feel comfortable being. A rip current can be deadly, so knowing how to look out for one and what to do if you find yourself caught in the tide is important for all beach-goers.

From the shore, you can see where riptides are occurring due to the sandy-colored areas where the current is pulling sand from the bottom as they form. You can also see darker water, which tells you that it may be a deeper area that a rip current has formed in. Oftentimes, you can see choppy water in those areas, and you may even see seaweed and foam moving in lines.

Swimming.

What are you waiting for? Get in that water! [Image: http://www.asiantour.com/]

The most important thing to remember if you get caught in a riptide is to not panic. If you feel yourself being pulled, you should swim perpendicular to that pull (typically this is parallel to the shoreline) until you don’t feel its tug any longer. If you can’t swim away from it, float until you no longer feel the pull and then make your way back to shore. Or if none of these options is feasible, wave your arms and call out to a lifeguard that you need help.

Relax. “Jaws” is not at all indicative of a normal beach experience.

Shark attacks are incredibly rare—you’ve probably heard the comparison that you have a higher chance of being struck by lightning or of being in a fatal car accident than you doing being attacked by a shark. In the U.S., there are an average of 16 shark attacks each year, with only one being fatal every two years.

But maybe it’s not the unlikely odds that scare you; maybe you’re just afraid of being unprepared, which is totally reasonable. So here’s what you can do if you find yourself near a shark.

Sharks with human teeth.

Another tip: Picturing sharks with human teeth makes them way less intimidating. [Image: http://distractify.com/]

Before you head into the water, you should avoid drawing attention to yourself in a way that might be appealing to a shark. That means don’t go into the water if you’re even slightly bleeding or menstruating, don’t wear bright colors or jewelry that could catch a shark’s eye, and don’t splash around excessively.

If you take all the proper precautions and still find yourself facing off with a shark, your best bet is to hit them in one of their sensitive areas (snout, eyes, or gills). Unlike how people say you should play dead if you’re attacked by a bear, you should fight against a shark with everything you have.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for sunscreen.

Sunscreen.

Putting sunscreen on might feel like a pain to do, but it’s even worse dealing with the aftermath of a bad sunburn. [Image: http://ryot.huffingtonpost.com/]

Melanoma is no joke, and beach-goers should be especially keen to apply generous amounts of sunscreen throughout the day when spending time at the beach. SPF 15 or higher is advised, depending on how easily you tend to burn. Additionally, keeping yourself in shady areas or wearing a hat are also helpful for avoiding excessive sunburn.

Prolonged exposure to the sun as well as dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or even sun poisoning. You’ll know if you’re experiencing one of these illnesses if you feel dizzy, fatigued, have a headache, have muscle cramps, your skin is pale, you’re sweating a lot or not at all, your heart is racing, you have a fever, and through many other symptoms. If you think you have one of these conditions, remove unnecessary clothing, drink more water, cool off in a bath or shower, or seek a medical professional.

Fish are friends, not food. And also not something you should really mess around with in general.

Even though going to the beach is usually reserved for vacations or days off, it’s best to keep in mind that you’re in the home of many different ocean animals and plants. As always, go into a park or beach with respect for the wildlife that live there and for the environment that you’re also enjoying.

That being said, there are plenty of creatures that you’ll come across at the beach that you might want to avoid. This includes crabs, jellyfish, mussels, clams, and barnacles to name a few. If you don’t want to get scraped, stung, or pinched, then be careful of where you tread and swim!

Crabs everywhere.

Just watch where you step! [Image: https://www.reddit.com/]

Hopefully these tips are early enough to prepare you for beach season this year. Stock up now on sunscreen, sandals, bathing suits, umbrellas, and all the other fun things to take to the beach. And, as always, make sure to bring your Pocket Ranger® mobile apps with you to make exploring and relaxing even easier!