I've been to Tasmania a couple
; it's certainly a hot spot for squid research. And also, it turns out, for the squid themselves.
(That's glue made by
squids, not glue made from
squids. Don't be mean.)Yesterday I explained
that the little pygmy squid Idiosepius'
glue gland produces two different oozes, and so it must be either a duo-gland
or an epoxy gland
. (By the way, "duo-gland" is a very scientific term. "Epoxy gland" I just made up; glue scientists will probably look at you weirdly if you use it.)
And then I quoted some data from a paper arguing that it is probably an epoxy gland--that is, the two different oozes mix together to form glue.
I've mentioned the Littlest Squid
before: the genus Idiosepius
, which contains only a handful of very small, very adorable species. And I commented that they have this habit of gluing themselves to seaweed, to hide from predators.
Well, today I'm here to explain how they do it, because a new paper just came out
on the topic of itty-bitty squids and their glue organs.
Ambergris is a weird and wonderful thing. It has been tremendously valuable throughout human history, but its creation and functionality have been shrouded in myth and superstition. To this day, no one has ever seen a whale actually excrete the stuff.
But we know for sure that ambergris comes from sperm whales, because it's been found in their stomachs as well as floating freely in the sea. And since the waxy blobs are always full of squid beaks, we think they're probably the whale's way of dealing with these uncomfortable hard parts.
Apparently, in the world of Omega-3 supplementation, squid is the new hotness
. A Norwegian company producing "Calamarine" has struck deals to sell to a bunch of US food supplements.
It's a nice example of using every part of the buffalo
, since the parts they're processing into oil are usually discarded in the process of turning squid into calamari.
What are the quintessential tools of the writer's trade? Why, a pen and ink, of course. Now, what modern writer in this day and age uses pen and ink? None. We all use keyboards and screens.
Where's the romance? The tradition? The glory?
It's all held in that unassuming marvel of molluscan engineering, the squid. The squid's pen is his internalized shell, the proteinaceous spear against which his muscles move. The squid's ink is his chemical defense, to be released in a blinding cloud or a deceptive pseudomorph.
Thus the squid is a more romantic, a more traditional, and a more glorious specimen of the writer than is your humble correspondent, who labors ingloriously on her computer.