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Danna StaafRSS Feed of this column.

Cephalopods have been rocking my world since I was in grade school. I pursued them through a BA in marine biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, followed by a PhD dissertation at... Read More »

This is so cool! I can't believe I haven't been hearing taxonomists buzz about this. 3M Novec is a new engineered material that is non-flammable (unlike ethanol) non-toxic (unlike formalin, though Steve O'Shea swears you can drink the stuff) and doesn't leach color. Its only apparent downside so far: it's denser than water.

The Smithsonian is testing it out by displaying giant squid, and according to their program manger, "We had to use pretty creative ways to get the specimens to stay down inside the container." Tantalizing! Did they glue suckers to the glass? Pour lead shot inside the mantle? Inquiring minds want to know!
The first Squid-A-Day is my very own study organism: Dosidicus gigas, the Humboldt squid! They seem to be mellowing out as they move north; after causing serious media hullabaloo in San Diego all summer, they squeezed only six sentences out of the Associated Press with their arrival in Washington State.

The AP gets kudos for calling Humboldts "large" not "giant" (giant squid are an entirely different species) and knowing that they eat "small fish" not "humans" (as other sensationalist news outlets have sometimes claimed).