Merry…uh…Happy, no…hmmm, oh, Hooray, it’s HAGFISH DAY!!! Celebrate the anniversary of the 9th Hagfish Day Celebration with us October 18, 2017!!! Nine years of exotic, unusual, some might say ugly (we prefer beauty-challenged) ocean animals.
The beautiful hagfish.
WhaleTimes created Hagfish Day (in 2009) to celebrate the beauty of ugly. Hagfish are the perfect example. These deep-sea scavengers ooze buckets of slime. They also play an important role in their ecosystem. WhaleTimes believes repugnant and slightly revolting animals like hagfish make great role models for highlighting conservation concerns for all marine animals.
“Sometimes it seems as if ecological causes are popularity contests that exclude the less attractive and less well-known, though equally vulnerable, creatures,” said WhaleTimes Director Ruth Musgrave. “There are species in peril that kids never hear about.”
How do you celebrate Hagfish Day? Classrooms, individuals and families can participate by making Hagfish Slime, writing , make or send a Hagfish Bouquet to a friend. It’s sure to be a good slime! Below are some Hagfish Day activities if you just can’t wait to celebrate the beauty of ugly.
What makes for a great Hagfish Day star? Animals that are a combination of unusual, endangered, and beauty challenged.
2017 Hagfish Stars Unveiled
- black dragonfish (Echiostoma barbatum)
- Heteropods What are heteropods you might ask? According to expert Kris Clark,, “…They’re kind of like little globs of snot looking for other snot-like creatures to eat…”
- Might Marine Microbes
- And of course, hagfish
- Watch these amazing hagfish shared by Dr. Andrew Clark:
2017 Hagfish Day Experts: Our extraordinary ocean experts include
Andrew Clark & Hagfish Knots
Want to show your friends you care, but don’t have time to make a Hagfish Bouquet? Send a Happy Hagfish Day card to a friend. (Click on thumbnail photo, save, and send.)
As you know, 2017 is the Year of the Vaquita. WhaleTimes has been celebrating all year. If you don’t know about this beautiful creature, it is a porpoise that is only found in the Sea of Cortez in the Gulf of California. This shy porpoise has unusual and pretty facial markings and sleek bodies. (Read more about Vaquita)
It is amazing and heartbreaking to think that scientists didn’t even know vaquitas existed until the 1950s. Yet today, they are the most endangered whale in the world. Less than 30 exist.
Today, scientists fear that the vaquita porpoise will become the SECOND whale species in the last decade to become extinct due to human pressures. The fear is that they will disappear forever by the year 2018. Can you even image that in two years a living creature will disappear from the face of the earth forever? Continue reading
Meet a gorgeous shark, the six-gill shark. This is a deep-water shark and as you can guess from the name, it has six gill slits. Those are the openings the water goes out after it passes over the gills. Most other sharks have 5 gill slits. A couple have 7.
The six-gill shark’s relatives date back over 200 million years. It has a heavy and powerful body with a round blunt snout. A six-gill shark’s color ranges from tan, brown, gray and even to black. Six-gills grow up to 18 feet (5.5 meters) long. That’s longer than a utility vehicle. Female six-gill sharks are larger then the males.
Another way six-gill sharks differ from other sharks is that its dorsal fin. It only has one (which isn’t unusual) but the one dorsal fin is located further back near the tail. Other dorsal fin of other sharks is usually near the center of their body (on their backs, of course).
Like the prickly shark, the six-gill might appear slow and sluggish when caught on film by an ROV or the very cool “Eye-in-the-Sea” camera. But hey, how would we look sitting on the couch texting friends or binge watching your favorite show? In between meals, a six-gill doesn’t waste energy zooming around the sea. When hunting, though, six-gills burst into action. They ambush prey from a close range. Six-gills eat small fishes, snails, crabs, shrimp, and squid.
Because of its deep-sea lifestyle, little is know about its reproductive behavior or other behaviors.
Six-gill sharks are threatened due to being overfished and caught in nets set for other species.
See you next time,
Wow, it has been the fastest summer yet! Kindergarten to 8th grade kids from across the country participated in two WhaleTimes’ virtual research missions. They danced to DNA, made vaquita wind socks, and created elephant seal tags. The kids also dazzled the Science Team members with their knowledge and challenged them with thought-provoking questions during the 30+ Skype™ sessions.
Our Creep into the DEEPEND Summer Camp program took kids to the deep sea in the Gulf of Mexico with the DEEPEND Science Team. They met cool animals and even cooler research and researchers while discovering DEEPEND Consortium’s important deep-sea research.
Kids joined Patrick W. Robinson, Dave Weller, Barbara Taylor, Daniel Costa and their Science Teams from the UC-Santa Cruz, Costa Lab, UC Año Nuevo Island Reserve and Southwest Fisheries Science Center/NOAA (vaquita and gray whale research) as part of our Celebration of Conservation: Gray Whales, Elephant Seals, and Vaquita. Summer camp kids learned about the beautiful gray whale, the amazing elephant seal, and the shy vaquita. The kids heard the successful conservation stories of the elephant seal and gray whale. Conservation efforts that saved both species from extinction. Summer campers also learned that the vaquita’s conservation story is still being written. With less than 30 vaquita left, we don’t know if it’ll have a happy ending or not.
Through both WhaleTimes’ programs our summer camp kids learned two important lessons. 1) Everybody makes a difference when it comes to conservation; 2) Everyone can help save ocean animals by only buying and/or eating sustainably caught seafood (when you are hankering for seafood).
Thank you to our Science Team Members, volunteers, and the museums and science centers for making it another amazing summer!
- DEEPEND Research and Creep into the DEEPEND program funded by funded by Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI) award number GOMRI2014-IV-914
- The Celebration of Conservation Elephant Seal Team’s research funded in part by: The Office of Naval Research, Joint Industry Program, Año Nuevo Reserve; gray whale and vaquita research supported by Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries. The education program portion funded by WhaleTimes and supported by volunteer time and effort from the Science Teams themselves and WhaleTimes’ volunteers.
Thank you to our museum and science centers for letting us make a splash at your summer camps!
If you missed your chance to join us at a summer camp near you, the program will be back next year.
Learn about shark tracking research by joining our friends at the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network (ON) from August 28 to September 1, 2017, for “Tracking Sharks on the Great Barrier Reef.” The feature will highlight the research of Dr. Michelle Heupel, a pioneer in the acoustic tracking of sharks and rays. Dr. Heupel’s studies on the movements of large predators are helping Australian scientists create better management plans to protect these often imperiled species, while assessing how changing ocean conditions are affecting their life-cycles. The program is free and will consist of daily blogs, videos, downloadable items and more. This program is hosted exclusively on the Oceanscape Network website.
You can also read more about the Dr. Michelle Heupel and shark conservation efforts in MISSION SHARK RESCUE (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2016 / ISBN-13: 978-1426320903)
Fifty vaquitas left, no, thirty, wait…seven more found dead in the last few months. The news is bleak for vaquitas as the population continues to decline.
A vaquita is a porpoise and the most endangered whale in the world. Less than 30 survive.
Efforts to stop illegal fishing of the (critically endangered) totoaba and use of gillnets has been at the forefront of scientists and the Mexican Government. Unfortunately, vaquitas (and totoabas) continue to die. With the latest CIRVA report, scientists now believe the only way to save vaquita from extinction is to try to capture the porpoises and put them in safety away from gillnets. “The Mexican government and its conservation partners have organized a live capture effort to try to save the vaquita from extinction….” Read more in this Vaquita Update (courtesy of the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
When you eat seafood, and only eat or buy sustainable seafood. Find out how: What is Sustainable?
Are you doing everything you can to protect the ocean? Take the 30 Days to a Sustainable You Survey and find out.
The power to protect ocean animals like the vaquita is in your hands.
NEW! Celebration of Conservation Summer Camps. This summer, museums and science centers throughout the country will offer WhaleTimes’ Celebration of Conservation: Gray Whales, Elephants Seals, and Vaquita Summer Camps.
Our Celebration of Conservation highlights three important marine conservation stories – two successful stories and one still being written. As part of TEAM VAQUITA, students learn about gray whales, elephant seals, and vaquita. Gray whales and elephant seals were once so close extinction it’s amazing either species survived. Due to protection efforts and public awareness, both species are thriving. Both have been delisted (removed) from the endangered species list. Vaquita, a kind of porpoise, needs that same kind of happy ending. It is the most endangered whale in the world. There are only 30 vaquita left in the world.
To register or find out more, check out the list below and contact the museum or science center near you.
|Adventure Science Center
|Catawba Science Center
||Hickory, North Carolina
|Liberty Science Center
||Jersey City, New Jersey
|Maine Discovery Museum
|Museum of Discovery and Science
||Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
|Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network
|Pacific Science Center
|St. Louis Science Center
||St. Louis, Missouri
|Univ of Michigan Museum of Natural History
||Ann Arbor, Michigan
|Museum of Discovery and Science
||Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Year of the Vaquita 2017
This 60 second video created by Oregon Coast Aquarium, part of TEAM VAQUITA, will quickly introduce you to the vaquita and the challenges being addressed by the Year of the Vaquita.
6-12th grade teachers, looking for vaquita-related activities and fact sheets for older students? Visit Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network.
K-5 Teachers, check out our Save the Vaquita K-5 fact sheets and activities. Better yet, enroll in our Celebration of Conservation program to learn more about vaquita, elephant seals, and gray whales.
Video courtesy of the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Oceanscape Network