Shovelnose guitarfish

Meet the shovelnose guitarfish or Rhinobatos productus, a common resident off California’s southern coast. This was another cool creature caught by the trap set in Long Beach Harbor near the breakwall on Cabrillo Aquarium’s See the Sea trip. According to Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast by… [read more]

Sexual maturity in whales and dolphins

Ah puberty, those awkward years on the road to sexual maturity. It’s not clear if whales and dolphins must also suffer the dramatic ups and downs of the human teenager, but some do have to suffer big differences between the sexes when it comes to the actually timing of sexual maturity. In several posts we’ve… [read more]

Elephant seals: ocean aliens have landed!

Picture an elephant crossed with a seal and add in a little “District 9” alien. The result: the male northern elephant seal or Mirounga angustirostris. The elephant part of the description helps convey the sheer mass of the male elephant seal, plus the shape of its nose. According to the book Elephant Seals by Carole… [read more]

Snowy Plover: dirty square dancing in the sand

To live on the beach, bask in the sun, scrape a nest in the sand, run near the waves and make love along the dunes is to live the life of a snowy plover. Western snowy plovers or Charadrius alexandrines nivosus are cute little birds that inhabit prime waterfront property along California’s coast and inland… [read more]

California Sea Lions: size doesn’t always matter

Imagine the challenges of dating someone four times your size, especially during the intimate times. This is the reality of a female California sea lion. Well-known residents of the South Bay, California sea lions, officially named Zalophus californianus, are frequently seen swimming near shore, chasing fish or lounging on buoys. But what goes on behind… [read more]