Monday, November 24, 2014

The Funky Octopuses of Paris Pt. 2!!

Bonjour! Greetings to everyone from Paris! My apologies for the brief silence. Trips do not always go as planned and my laptop decided it had other plans a couple of weeks ago. "Technical difficulties"..  Ah well.. C'est la vie!

As I am trying to get stuff done before my return to the United States, I thought I would offer a follow up to my artsy octopus post from last year (here)

As a bit of contrast, here was a hyper awesome (and realistic) brass octopus at the gates to the Institute d'Oceanographie....
But I think most of the rest of these are more reminiscent of "dumbo octopuses" which we saw recently on the Okeanos Explorer... 
These are placed all throughout Paris and its often a treat to go hunting for them in various corners of this wonderous city! 

They  are all the work of a street artist, GZUP Stretart (his facebook page is here) But many are goofy or otherwise "interpret" popular media icons.. 

Here for example.. ZOIDBERG!! 
Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow! 
Oprah? I believe?  (Reader Claire clarifies that this is in fact Rhianna! thanks!)

The Mouse! 
And just more....
An interesting one....

Meh...


!!!!!!!
TROLL! 
More sciency stuff next week...! after I've gotten more caught up! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gorgeous Goniasterid Starfish! & some Cousteau Connection??

 Bonjour from Paris! This week: a new post looking at some cool specimens I'm looking at while researching at the world famous Museum national d'Historie Naturelle!   Home of Lamark and many other natural history legends!

Today...two neat specimens with some interesting commentary and history, respectively...

First, a rarely encountered species & some taxonomic commentary... 

Paraferdina sohariae! It LOOKS like Fromia monilis, but isn't....  (as I said here awhile back..)
They Key is in the arrangement of spines (or the lack thereof) on the underside of the tube foot groove...

which is unfortunate, as you often don't see people with pictures of these in the wild...
This looks like Paraferdina 

Here's a "proper" Fromia monilis.. similar but with smaller marginal plates and more slender arms. 

I will be going back to Flickr, where I will be beating my head into a hole in the wall, trying to figure all these different things out now... 

A starfish from Cousteau?? 
Here's some cool shots of the Atlantic "cookie" star Peltaster placenta, which I 'm showing you, to give you an intro to ANOTHER specimen of this species below... These generally live at SCUBA depth and much deeper...
A pic of this species alive...Note how the disk is much more swollen
I showed you the pic above, so I could share a cool specimen of this species I found... 
 WOW! Look at the name of the collector! Could this be THE Calypso of Jacques Cousteau fame??? 

The MNHN is of course, the "national repository" (i.e., where they put all their stuff) of France, in the same way that the Smithsonian is the national repository of the United States. So, yeah, in theory anything they collect would be here. 
The tag indicates "1964 (May), Greece".  Cousteau was in the nearby Red Sea in 1964 shooting his epic "Le Monde Sans Soleil" aka The World without Sun in 1964!! Could this have been collected before or perhaps as an excursion by the Calypso away from Red Sea??
What other interesting specimens will present themselves?? 

BONUS: And if you like the food porn? Here's some fresh, hand made donuts from a Farmer's Market.. Mmmmm....