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Shore Buddies webblog

Wisdom Wednesday | What's in a Whale's Mouth

image of a humpback whale by Derek Troxell
Whales have HUGE mouths, extending to their belly buttons! This allows them to swallow a volume of water larger than themselves. Their throat stretches down to their navel. Tongue is the size of an elephant. You and 400 of your friends could fit in its mouth! Whales can be divided into two groups: the toothed whale and baleen whale.

Wisdom Wednesday | Giant Kelp

Image of Giant Kelp by Danny Lee
Once and individual giant kelp reaches the sea surface, it continues to grow horizontally, floating in large mats that shade the water column and sea floor below. In order to remain upright, each giant kelp blade (leaf) includes a gas-filled pod that floats. Sea otters wrap themselves in giant kelp to keep from floating away while sleeping. Humans have been known to harvest giant kelp and use them in food dishes and medical purposes due to their high potassium and iodine content.

Wisdom Wednesday | Water Lilies

Wisdom Wednesday | Water Lilies
Water Lilies are a fresh water plant, with about 70 species in total. Although most water lily species prefer the still waters of ponds and lakes, some can be found growing in slow-flowing rivers and creeks. Most species of water lilies have rounded, variously notched, waxy-coated leaves on long stalks that contain many air spaces and float in quiet freshwater habitats. The stalks arise from thick, fleshy, creeping underwater stems that are buried in the mud.

Wisdom Wednesday | Sandbars

Wisdom Wednesday | Sandbars
Barrier bars or beaches are exposed sandbars that may have formed during the period of high-water level of a storm or during the high-tide season. During a period of lower mean sea level they become emergent and are built up by swash and wind-carried sand; this causes them to remain exposed. Barrier bars are separated from beaches by shallow lagoons and cut the beach off from the open sea.

Wisdom Wednesday | Lionfish

Wisdom Wednesday | Lionfish
They have feathery pectoral fins that are used to attract smaller prey. On the other hand, same features keep the predators on the safe distance. Lionfish has more than thirteen (up to 18) venomous spines on the back side of the body. Venom is used only for self-defense (lionfish does not hunt using these spikes). Lionfish is a carnivore (meat-eater). It eats various types of fish and crustaceans. They often hunt as an ambush predator (using the factor of surprise). The large mouth of lionfish allows swallowing of the prey in a single bite. They can survive from 5 to 15 years as a diurnal animal (active during the day).

Wisdom Wednesday | Underwater Statues

Image of Underwater Statue by Instagram user Manuela Kirschner
Across the world statues have been sunk into the oceans for a variety of reasons—as memorials, to offer protection to a fragile marine environment, or simply as art. Colored with algae and populated by coral, some of the statues have become tourist destinations in their own right.

Wisdom Wednesday | Sandpipers

Common sandpiper has long, straight bill, small body and short legs. Common sandpiper spends a lot of time on the ground. Its head and rear part of the body are constantly bobbing while it walks or feeds on the ground. This unusual behavior is known "teetering". Common sandpiper has stiff-winged style of flying. Its flight consists of rapid, shallow wing beats combined with short glides.

Wisdom Wednesday | Shark Research Methods

Wisdom Wednesday | Shark Research Methods
Research on sharks has allowed knowing from their origin and evolution to the applications that they have in different ambits of the human life. It is tough to know about the beginning of the research but it seems that the oldest casual investigations date back to the time of the Renaissance when people assumed that the fossils of the large teeth embedded in the rocks came from dragons or snakes.

Wisdom Wednesday | Dorid Nudibranch

image of a Nudibranch by Instagram user William Soo
Nudibranchs are grouped with snails and slugs in the class Gastropoda, but they differ from snails by having no shell, or at least a greatly reduced one.  As their name implies, nudibranchs are further identifiable by their naked or exposed gills.  The gills are easily visible on the backs of most nudibranchs. While appealing to the human eye, the main two purposes of these nudi’s intricate patterns and bright colors are defense and camouflage.

Wisdom Wednesday | Sea Turtle Hatchlings

Photo of a sea turtle hatchling by Instagram user Cassie Jensen
The hatchlings do not have sex chromosomes so their gender is determined by the temperature within the nest. The temperature varies slightly among species, ranging between roughly 83-85 degrees Fahrenheit (28-29 degrees Celsius), at which embryos within a nest develop into a mix of males and females. Temperatures above this range produce females and colder temperatures produce males. It's estimated that only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood. Once near the surface, they will often remain there until the temperature of the sand cools, usually indicating nighttime, when they are less likely to be eaten by predators or overheat. Once out of the nest, hatchlings face many predators including ghost crabs, birds, raccoons, dogs, and fish.

Wisdom Wednesday | Grouper Fish

Image of a Red Coney Grouper by Instagram user Michael Patrick O'Neil
In addition to their possible great size, another defense that some groupers have is the ability to change the color of their skin to match their background.. Sometimes this color change is simple, such as turning from dark to light in order to blend in with varying levels of light. They swim slowly, but with power. They're not capable of fast breaks or swimming long distances, but anyone who's been on the other end of one on a deep sea fishing charter in Destin can tell you they have one heck of a dive pull. Some groupers are so huge that when they open their mouths to feed, they create a suction that is powerful enough to inhale small prey.

Wisdom Wednesday | Whale Sharks

Image of Whale Shark by Instagram user Amy Mercer
Whale sharks are filter feeders that eat plankton through their gills for much of their nourishment. They also eat squid, krill, and small fish. A whale shark can process more than 6,000 liters of water an hour through its gills. Whale sharks are in no way related to whales. Although they are sharks, they are very docile. A whale shark’s mouth is at the very front of its head—as opposed to the underside of the head like most sharks.