Introducing the pacific sardine

Well, somebody has to be the bait and quite often it’s the Pacific sardine or Sardinops sagax. Sardines average on the smaller side, but can grow up to more than 16 inches. Size is important because it’s an indicator of a sardine’s sexual maturity. Here’s a telling quote from Dr. Milton Love’s book Probably More… [read more]

The bald eagle: a salute to our national emblem

In 1782, six years after the Declaration of Independence was signed and a new nation was born, Congress chose the bald eagle to be the national emblem of the United States. Today, the eagle is printed, painted and carved on everything having anything to do with our government. But how often do Americans even notice… [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]

Gray Whales: on the road again

Imagine doing a major road trip for 5,000 to 7,000 miles. Now imagine making that trip 11 months pregnant. Now imagine making the return trip of 5,000 to 7,000 miles just three months after arriving and giving birth. Now imagine doing these two major road trips every year of your life until the day you… [read more]

Baculum: the penis bone

Walrus baculum, 22 inches long The “B” section of the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals launches with an article by Edward Miller on the baculum. The baculum is a bone located in the penis of several species. For marine mammals this includes polar bears, sea otters, seals, sea lions and walruses. Bacula (plural of baculum) come… [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]