Food for Thought : Part 2

By Becky

Welcome back to Part 2 of marine organisms named after food! This week we start off with vegetables, making sure you get your 5 a day!

Pea Crab

Pea crabs are small parasitic crustaceans that live in oysters, clams, mussels, and other species of bivalve. When mating, the male pea crab has been observed rubbing the edge of a shellfish containing a female pea crab for hours, until the shellfish (understandably) gets rather irritated and opens up.

Cauliflower Jelly

Not much is known about the Cauliflower jelly (Cephea cephea), a jellyfish so nice, they named it twice! Its crown is actually a purplish colour, and it is eaten by both sea turtles and humans.

Cauliflower jellyfish by Meli1670

Cauliflower jellyfish by Meli1670

Potato Cod

The Potato cod/bass/grouper (Epinephelus tukula), is one of the largest members of the grouper family, and can measure up to 2 m, and weigh up to 100 kg! They are named for the large potato-shaped markings on its body, though very large adults are reported to be entirely black. Fun fact: Opposite to the clownfish, potato groupers are protogynous, starting out female, and then when they are sexually mature, develop into males!

Potato cod by David Clode

Potato cod by David Clode

Sea Walnut

The Sea Walnut (Mnemiopsis leidyi), apparently got its name due to how slowly it moves. It is also known as the Warty comb jelly, presumably because it won’t be displayed on the cover of Vogue any time soon. It is an invasive species in European and western Asian waters, and its invasion is probably due to it being euryoecious – able to live in a wide range of habitats, for example in salinity between 2 and 38 PSU, and in temperatures from 2 to 32 °C. If that wasn’t enough, due to its hermaphroditism, it has the capacity to self-fertilise. The Sea Walnut – ridiculous name, yet terrifyingly effective.

Flapjack Octopus

The flapjack octopus (Opisthoteuthis californiana) is a species of umbrella octopus, the family name due to the web of skin between each tentacle. Opisthoteuthis species are the most compressed of any cephalopod, and their flattened appearance resulted in the name ‘flapjack’ or ‘pancake devilfish’. Not quite sure if the marine biologist who named this had ever made flapjacks correctly, or if they were named devilfish as they are tricky to study, with not much being known about them.

Ox-eye Oreo

I cheated slightly here. This ox-eye oreo, or oxeye oreodory (Oreosoma atlanticum) is not named after that particularly cookie, but comes from the Greek for ‘mountain’ (oreos), and ‘body’ (soma). A name which makes sense when you consider the mountain range like appearance on the underside of the fish, before it matures into an adult

Ice Cream Cone Worm

Ice cream cone worms are a family of marine polychaete worms that build tubes using grains of sand, these tubes look like ice cream cones, or trumpets, giving them their other name of trumpet worms. These structures can be up to 5 centimetres (2 in) long and help cover their translucent skin, through which you can see their internal organs. Yikes! I won’t be ordering one of those the next time the ice cream van comes around!

Unfortunately, there aren’t many free stock photos to illustrate these incredible creatures, but please go online and check them out!

Thumbnail image by @thenata