Storytime 1

So, this year the weekly post will be an image with a story behind it – maybe informative, maybe amusing, more likely trivial to be honest (I don’t lead an exciting life, or at least that’s what I tell people to throw them off the trail.) I guarantee that they will post at least before 8 PM so you can read them to your kids at bedtime, because I’m that helpful. Finding a therapist for them afterward will be up to you however.

To start off, we’ll feature one that’s been sitting in the blog folder for a bit, because I’m lazy right now.

likely grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella in apartment complex pondWhere I lived in Florida, the apartment complex had a decent-sized pond right outside my back door, handy when poking around casually for interesting pics (and testing out experimental equipment.) Within were innumerable minnows, some small panfish that were possibly perch, and some monster fish that I’m fairly certain were grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella,) an Asian species introduced into the US primarily as weed control. When the light was good, these could be seen cruising around slowly, or nibbling on the weeds within.

One day as I was standing on the little footbridge that crossed a neck of the pond, I watched one of these carp patrol slowly below, and when it was almost directly underneath me, I distinctly saw it blink. I’m fairly certain this photo was taken within seconds of that, but at the very least it illustrates what I was seeing at the time.

After a moment I blinked myself, not as a signal nor in a yawnlike involuntary response, but because fish do not have eyelids, so they can’t possibly blink. I was left wondering what I actually did see.

Just a little later on, I had even more to wonder about, because I realized that the eyes of the fish are those bulbs directly along the sides, and not the distinctive things more on top of the snout. Those resemble nostrils more than anything, which is unsurprising because they are nostrils, something that I did not think fish had until I started researching piscine anatomy for this post to determine what they did have. But of course it makes sense, because how else are they gonna smell when something’s burning? Now, why these have the ability to blink, or to be more specific, appear to retract momentarily, is something that I have not yet found, but I saw it clearly enough that there’s little doubt in my mind. I’m a little jealous mind you, since I can’t close my nostrils without one of those little swimmers’ things that horrify people when they find them in your bathroom cabinet, and I’ve had to deal with vulture vomit. It’s not fair.

But setting aside this gross injustice, here’s another view of the same species, this time with an escort which gives a small indication of scale. It’s a wonder, actually, that we still had raccoons visiting the pond…

possibly grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella and unidentified minnow