When I tell people I study bryozoans they often look at me like I’m crazy.  “…a what? A bryzome? A bryazone? What’s it called again?…”  The little guys I study grow on kelp and form flat white colonies that people often mistake for mold or moss.  They are often surprised to find out they are in fact animals.  As they say, don’t judge a book by its cover.  Learn more in this week’s comic!

Mantis shrimp

The mantis shrimp – a crowd favorite as far as invertebrates go.  If Mike Tyson were an invertebrate, he’d be a mantis shrimp.  Not only are they super feisty (there are species that either smash or spear their prey at high speeds) and deliver life-threatening punches but they have highly developed vision in a wide range of wavelengths.  Check yourself before you wreck yourself.  Read on in this week’s comic.

Lacuna matata

Are you #radforradula? If you ever get a chance to inspect some snail teeth, I highly recommend the experience! Learn more about how marine snails of the genus Lacuna change the shape of their teeth depending on their environment.  Wouldn’t it be cool if we could change the shape of our teeth depending on whether we are eating pizza or tacos?! Lacuna matata!

Coral bleaching

Is it an animal, vegetable or mineral? As my ‘coral guy’ likes to tell people, corals are part animal, part plant and part rock. There’s the actual invertebrate, the algae that live inside their tissue and the calcium carbonate skeleton they make as they grow.  Clearly corals are difficult for a round of 20 Questions! Not only are they beautiful, but they provide habitat for many tropical organisms.  Unfortunately, coral bleaching is becoming prevalent in many reefs worldwide.  Within the last few years I’ve seen some instances of bleaching on my trips to Micronesia and the US Virgin Islands.  Learn more with this week’s comic!

P.S. if you have a favorite invertebrate you’d like to see highlighted, don’t forget to let me know on the Contact page!

Horseshoe crabs

Being on the West coast makes me miss my East coast invertebrates.  And my East coast friends that love East coast invertebrates.  A good friend of mine rocked a killer horseshoe crab costume this summer at the labs for which she won the Blue Blood prize (did you know horseshoe crabs have blue blood?)…well deserved! Check out this week’s comic to learn more about why horseshoe crabs are especially cool!

This week: pyrosomes!

Pyrosomes are pretty cool!  I recently saw many on the research cruise I was on in August off the coast of Oregon.  Using the cameras on the remotely operated vehicle onboard the ship (think underwater robot), we got a sneak peak at pyrosomes in action as the vehicle descended through the water column to the seafloor.  Their bioluminescence was beautiful to watch, especially in the middle of the ocean with no other lights in sight.  Have you seen bioluminescence?

Thanks for tuning in!

Thanks everyone for a great inaugural week here at Interviews with Invertebrates! It’s really nice to see such an interest from a wide range of folks.   Keep tuning in every Wednesday for new comics.  If you like what you see be sure to subscribe to get notifications of new posts sent straight to your email.