The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: crustacean

Wish You Were Here: The Lobster Roll. A South Sea Interpretation.

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand in a camper van with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

This past week, I’ve been spending a lot of time rooting around in the kelp-laden rocks along the lobster-rich eastern shore of New Zealand, where spring tides bring the post-spawn crustaceans into the shallows.

So, naturally, having had lobster–or ‘crayfish’ as they’re known in New Zealand–about nine different ways (sashimi–still my favorite, steamed, seared in oil with chillies, curried, in a taco . . .) I couldn’t help but turn back and attempt to recreate the simple but classic New England lobster roll–or at least my South Pacific take on the dish–as I knew it growing up.

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Meet the 23-Year-Old Lobsterwoman Paying off College Loans by Living the Dream in Maine


Photo: Charlotte Wilder/

“One thing I like about being a girl out here is that they can’t pay me less than a guy,” 23-year-old Maine lobster boat captain Sadie Samuels told “They just can’t. There’s a price per pound, and fuel costs the same whether you’re a guy or a girl.”

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Behold, The World’s Most Colorful Squat Lobster


Photo: © Moorea Biocode Project/Creative Commons.

There are well over 100 species of squat lobster, and while the genera Galathea, to which this specimen belongs, currently contains 70 species worldwide,Galathea pilosa is surely the most vivid.

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Invasion of the Red Crabs: El Niño Conditions Bring Hoards of Fiery Beasties to the Channel Islands


Screen grab from video below of pelagic red crabs in the Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary

This year’s El Niño is predicted to be of one the strongest in recent history, bringing with it torrid waters from the equator and drenching the west coast and southern parts of the U.S. with torrential rains.

The effects of this Godzilla El Nino are already being felt along the Channel Islands, off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties in California, where thousands of pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) have the invaded the waters around the islands.

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The Canadian-American War Over Two Tiny, Treeless Maritime Islands

1942 Eric Aldwinckle and Albert E. Cloutier. Lick them over there

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Lobstermen are a brutish breed; I say this only because I grew up amongst them. Even at 12 and 13 years of age while fishing in my small skiff, Blues Dory, I had horrific confrontations with them. Guns were drawn, expletives were shouted. All at a young boy quietly fishing in his little open skiff.

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Above: The American, true, northern, or Maine lobster (Homarus americanus), depending on whom you ask. Others just call it Maritime gold. Photo: Santa Barbara Fish Market.

It’s a precious commodity those men spend their lives chasing, and they’ll guard their traps and their catch to the bitter end.

Above: Machias Seal Rock, one of two disputed islands between the Gulf of Maine (USA) and New Brunswick (CA), upon which only Canada has staked its flag. Photo: Fred J. Field/CP.

A pair of islands in what is called “the gray area” between the United States and Canada are more or less barren, arid low-lying protrusions from the sea–rocks, really. One, called North Rock, is home to a gray seal colony. The other, Machias Seal Rock, is a puffin sanctuary and Canada’s (or so they claim) last manned lighthouse. It’s also only .1 square kilometers and uninhabitable, for all intents and purposes. So why has a battle between The United States and Canada continued to quietly ensue since, well, The American Revolution?

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This Two-Tone Lobster Caught off Maine Is a “One in 50 Million Catch,” Researchers Say


The lobster is on display at the Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-Op in Scarborough, Maine. Photo: Yoon S. Byun/AP.

I wonder if he–this particular specimen appears to be a malehas any friends concerned with his whereabouts, or if all the others picked on him? Did his parents love him just the same?

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Sea Sapphires: The Vanishing, Hidden Gems of the Sea


Above: The sea sapphire (Sapphrina). Traditionally, a grouping of these creatures are known to Japanese fishermen as tama-mizu, or “jeweled water”. Photo: Stefan Siebert.

These marine copepods may be the genesis of a new generation of optics, if scientists can figure out how, exactly, the hexagonal crystal plates on their backs explode into reds, blues and violets, and then appear to vanish just as suddenly.


.gif from The American Chemical Society’s video (below), via biomorphosis/tumblr.

Sapphirina are a type of marine copepod, aquatic crustaceans that are found in both salt and sweet water, but only the marine males glow, as far as scientists know, and they believe it may have to do with mating or mate recognition.

Of the species studied, at least one gave off a spectacle only when light struck its backplates at exactly 45°, at which point it reflects not visible, but ultraviolet light.

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How the Scientific Legacy of Inventor of the Aquarium Lies Lost on the Ocean Floor


Jeanne Villepreux-Power one of the world’s first female biologists, by Anne-Lan, from WomenRockScience

Most people don’t know the history behind modern day aquariums, either for use in our homes or for spectacular display at places such as the Charleston and Monterey Bay Aquariums. This simple device – something we today wholly take for granted – as always having been there, was devised by one of the first-noted female marine biologists, Jeanne Villepreux-Power.

After moving to Sicily, Italy with her new husband in 1818, 22-year old Villepreux-Power abandoned her career as a seamstress to intensely study the natural history of her new home. Entirely self-taught with no formal education beyond reading and writing, she observed the flora and fauna of the island. She was most drawn to the life beneath the sea, and through her interest in marine mollusks, she created what is thought to be the first aquarium in 1832. It’s surely one of the greatest contributions to the study of marine biology.

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