Monday, June 26, 2017

Bye bye Manta Rays?

From the paper - click for detail!
 
It sure looks so - at least taxonomically!

Check this out.
It postulates what has been rumored for quite a while, i.e. that genetically, the Mantas belong to the Mobulas and that consequently,  their Genus needs to be changed from Manta to Mobula. The paper also does away with three species of Mobula (eregoodootenkee, japanica and rochebrunei) that are being subsumed under Mobula kuhlii, M. mobular and M. hypostoma, respectively, thus reducing the total number of Mobula species to eight. 
This does not necessarily affect the common names = we can still continue calling Mobula alfredi the Reef Manta, and Mobula birostris, the Giant (and/or Pelagic or Oceanic) Manta!

Is this the last of it?
Considering the obvious morphological differences (= e.g. terminal vs sub-terminal mouths, shape of the cephalic lobes etc) but also the emotional attachment to the Mantas by so many folks out there, methinks most likely not - but with Will and Gavin being the current titans of Elasmobranch taxonomy, any detractors better come well prepared!

To be continued no doubt.
Really looking forward to a good frothy brawl - if the past is any indication, we can all look forward to fireworks! :)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mimic Sole!


This is the unpalatable Flastworm Pseudoceros scintillatus. Source.

And talking of (Batesian) mimicry - how cool is this!
Story here - enjoy!



Friday, June 23, 2017

Carly Shark Attack!

Not a fan - not of the stick, not of the operator. Source.

Watch.



Yes shit happens - especially when handling those frisky Reefies!
Hence the mesh suit that certainly preformed as advertised. On the negative side, I personally don't like feeding off sticks and am not in favor of teaching Shark feeding to tourists - and boy, talk about zero empathy by the callous so-called teacher, or whatever!

Story here

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

East Wells: Bimini’s Last Hope!


Watch.



And I cite,
Bimini Island in the Bahamas lies just 48 miles from Miami, Florida and is an ecological wonderland.
But for the past 17 years, Bimini has faced serious environmental threat in the form of a US-owned development. Much of the Island's mangrove forest has already been dredged out to build luxury homes, a casino and most recently, a Hilton hotel. Just to the east of the development lies East Wells, Bimini's only remaining pocket of pristine habitat, but the development is growing and the latest marketing brochures advertise a golf course which will be the final blow to the people of Bimini and the ecosystem on which they depend.

A new government has just been voted into power.
This video is an appeal from the Biminites for the declaration of a marine protected area that will protect their environment. We call on the Hilton Hotel Group to do the right thing and halt any development that will destroy East Wells - a critical nursery area for all marine life in this region of the Caribbean. 
Exhaustive article here
 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dominican Republic: Shark Sanctuary!

Still in its infancy: Dominican Shark viewing tourism. Source.

Great News!

Read this.
The linked article tells about an indefinite fishing ban for Sharks and Rays, a 5-year moratorium for Sea Urchins and a  2-year moratorium for Parrot- and Surgeonfishes which is all excellent and once again cements the position of the Dominican Republic as a visionary conservation leader in the Caribbean.

And then there is this.
Where others brazenly claim credit where no credit is due, Rick praises others where much of the credit is his. In fact, this is actually his seventh Shark Sanctuary in the Caribbean - remember back then three years ago?

So, once again, bravo my friend.
I'm proud of 'ya in so many ways!

Hawaii's Aquarium Fishery: Regulated, Valuable, Sustainable!

Source.

Watch.



Background story here.
H/T to MCSI for highlighting this important issue!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Shout Out!


Watch this.



So here's the deal.
Mike Lever of GSD member Nautilus Liveaboards is traveling to Israel in order to participate in this year's edition of the Silence of the Sharks, and he is offering a gift certificate worth a whopping 1,800 bucks to any diver willing to travel there with him; plus, he has launched a children's poster competition.
Details here.

Having been asked to re-post, I'm happy to oblige.
I do this because Mike is a good man; because Nautilus Liveaboards is an awesome operator and member of GSD; because organizer David Pilosof is one of the few remaining mossbacks and deserves our respect; and yes, because the whole shebang features some pals, will likely cause no harm and is even likely to do a little bit of good.

So there you have it - do with it what you want! :)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cownose Ray Hunting - Moratorium!


Back to the exploding Cownose Rays, and I cite,
The cruelty at play, at times, gives the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, a run for its money.
Read this.
It summarizes brilliantly the whole fiasco in the Chesapeake Bay starting with Myers' fatally flawed paper all the way to the decision to ban those horrible killing contests.
And I cite again,
The story that unfolded across the Chesapeake Bay is one that should give reason to pause: people were quick to read into unrelated research; to scapegoat; to find blame where they wanted. It’s a lesson about the dangers of oversimplifying science. But there is nothing simple about coastal ecosystems, where a multitude of species and processes interact—many of which have yet to be discovered.
Which begs the question, have the lessons been learned?
And more specifically, have those Shark NGOs, educators and awareness raisers removed all references to the paper from their propaganda educational materials - and will they forthwith finally inform themselves and refrain from all the unhelpful hyperbole?

Yeah I know I know.
To be continued!