Seahorse Would Like You To Keep Your Eggs To Yourself, Thanks, Cuttlefish.

A European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) has been filmed laying its eggs onto an unwitting seahorse off the coast of Spain, presumably confusing its tail for a piece of seaweed. Not only is this the first time such a spectacle has been caught on film, the researchers believe it’s the first time a cuttlefish laying eggs in the wild has been filmed at all.

The curious behaviour was filmed by underwater cameraman and photographer, Manuel Enrique Garcia Blanco, who is assisting Ms. Fiona Read from the Marine Research Institute in Vigo, Galicia, investigate the sustainability of fisheries in the northwest Iberian Peninsula. With its 1,200 kilometer coastline, Galicia is known for its series of ports, harbours and coastal fishing villages, its centuries-old fishing tradition rendering it one of the main producers of mussels in the world.

Also targeted by Galician fisherman are the European cuttlefish, which led to Mr Blanco diving off the island of Toralla in the Ria de Vigo to film the cuttlefish as they bred and spawned. Over two hours he observed a cuttlefish lay fifteen of its grape-sized black eggs, attaching some, in typical fashion, to lengths of seagrass, and a couple to a passing seahorse.

“From the egg-laying behaviour, it is almost certain the cuttlefish put the eggs on when the seahorse was sitting in the seagrass,” Ms. Read told the BBC. “The eggs were really tight round the seahorse’s tail and it was thought to effect the survival of the seahorse. So the seahorse was captured and the eggs were cut from its tail. The seahorse is expected to survive but the eggs were damaged during the dissection.”

Oh Cuttlefish. I thought it would kind of go without saying that you can’t just lay your eggs wherever you want. People have their own shit going on, they don’t need to deal with yours as well. And I’m not telling you this just to be an arsehole, I’m telling you this because people are already talking about it at the office. Like, remember that time you went to the kitchen and that douchebag from accounts, who always takes forever at the coffee machine because he wanders off halfway through and you don’t want to move his cup because you’re kind of weird like that so you have to wait for like five minutes for him to come back before you can have your turn, was there? And he’s all, “Hey look. It’s raining.”

And you’re like, “Yeah. Hey can you hold these?”

“What? For how long? Hey!

But you were already back at your desk, pretending to be on an important call or something, and that douchebag from accounts had to carry your eggs around for like three weeks?

Yeah, not funny, Cuttlefish, because you know what will happen? You’ll be sitting in some staff meeting one afternoon and your boss will be like, “Okay so we’ll have IT look into that maturity reports error tomorrow, John. Anyone else have an issue they want to bring up? No? Right, get out of here. Wait, not you, Cuttlefish, a word…”

And you’ll be all, “Me?”

And he’ll be like, “Yeah.”

And he’ll get up and close the door, which means it’s totally serious, and just as you’re trying to add up how much annual leave you’ve accumulated and how many weeks’ rent it will cover while you’re unemployed, he’s like, “So, Cuttlefish. You want a Mentos? I’ve got so many here. They keep giving me fuckloads of the things and I don’t even like them. No? Okay listen. Workwise, we’ve got no problems with you. I hear you landed the McAlister account last week. Right on. High five. But there have been some complaints from the other staff about you, erm, laying your eggs on them and then running off, and so on.”

“Oh my god, it was that douchebag from accounts, wasn’t it?”

“I can’t say. It’s confidential.”

“Ugh, I knew it. What an arsehole.”

“Anyway, you just can’t do it.”

“Can I attach them to the side of my desk then?”

“Fine. But make sure you let the cleaners know. Now get out of here. And take some Mentos with you.”

You see, Cuttlefish, it’s about common courtesy. Like, what if everyone else started attaching stuff they didn’t want or couldn’t be bothered carrying around to everyone else? You’d be in another staff meeting, waiting for your boss to arrive, and Janet from HR will be complaining about how she can’t sit down because she’s got yesterday’s Telegraph stuck to the back of her knees, and Sandra from collections will be trying to pass Mitch from sales a Mentos but he can’t take it because his hands are filled up with the entire contents of someone else’s handbag, and Alan from legal will be like, “You think that’s embarrassing, try having that new MGMT record strapped to your leg. Awful.”

Meanwhile Markus from, well no one really knows because all he does is hang out in the kitchen all day talking about stocks, is all, “I don’t know what you guys are complaining about, it’s not that bad.”

“Easy for you to say, you’ve got half a dozen lamingtons stuck to your arm.”

“Are you calling me fat?!”

No one’s calling anyone fat,” Janet from HR will assert, as the overly-sensitive fat lady in accounts who just went on another diet and has been cleaning out her fridge, yes her fridge, all morning, sits back down.

And then your boss will finally crawl in, dragging his leg, which has a riled-up border collie puppy strapped to it because Alan from legal didn’t realise it would be too hyperactive for his three-year-old daughter to play with, behind him all, “Anyone care to explain why I wasn’t told about the lift being down this morning? JESUS. Who’s going to fix that?”

“Some dude called Gary does it. But Cuttlefish laid a bunch of eggs on him and they started hatching so he had to take the day off.”

“Shit. I won’t get taxed heaps on my accumulated leave, will I? Guys…?”

Original report by the BBC here // Cuttlefish picture from AquaViews.
– bec

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4 Comments

Filed under Science, Sea Creatures

4 responses to “Seahorse Would Like You To Keep Your Eggs To Yourself, Thanks, Cuttlefish.

  1. Q: Why do seahorses have such long noses?
    A: So they can stick them in other people’s business.

    So there the Cuttlespouse and I are, in what is clearly a Very Private Moment, and this goddamn seahorse swims by, all “hey, you two, what ya doin? Can I watch?”

    Pervert.

    And he grabs on to the seaweed where Cuttlespouse is depositing our future Cuttlekids, and just won’t go away! We don’t need child-rearing advice from anyone, let alone someone who isn’t even our phylum, let alone species. But you know how some people are; there’s always someone who thinks they know better, even though they never had a kid. “Oh, you shouldn’t attach your babies to seaweed, you should carry them around in your stomach pouch, except for the ugly ones ( http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100317-pregnant-fish-fathers-abortion/ ).” Well, guess what, vertebrate, we don’t need your advice, we don’t have pouches, and we would appreciate it if you left us alone during our Very Private Moment.

    But no, he’s all “It’s a free ocean, I can stay where I want to”, and Cuttlespouse decides, if the seahorse thinks eggs should be carried around until they hatch, he can put his money where his mouth is. Dude thinks he is some seagoing supernanny, let him prove it.

    So, yeah, she attaches a couple of eggs to his ass. He asked for it. Busybody bastard seahorse.

    And does he man up and carry them to term? No, he goes crying off to another goddamn vertebrate, who cuts him free and damages our eggs, ’cause apparently seahorses are all ethical and moral with other people’s business, but when it comes to themselves getting tied down, suddenly it’s a matter of individual choice. Hypocrites.

    And when it hits the news, who’s the bad guy? I’ll give you one hint: the media are run by vertebrates. Mollusc can’t buy a break in the vertebrate world.

    Goddamn seahorses. Goddamn humans. Goddamn running ponies.

    Goddamn vertebrates.

  2. While I was reading this I was thinking of Cuttlefish, and then he was here already!

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