Monday, July 26, 2010

“A whole menagerie!”

That’s what one counselor exclaimed at the Courageous Sailing Center today when the kids excitedly showed them what we’d pulled up in the lobster trap: several Red Rock Crabs, two big American Lobsters, a Northern Sea Star! I guess canned Tuna (I used Atlantic Skipjack, since it is one of the most plentiful species—unlike Atlantic Bluefin, which have been severely over-fished in recent years) really does the trick—thanks Bruce and Jen for the tip J. We used it for the first time on Friday, and over the weekend the “living room” (the area in a lobster trap where the animals get stuck) filled with ocean critters! Not only had some of the kids never held a starfish before, but our own (fantastic) intern Aruna had never held one either! We passed it around so that everyone got a turn, along with the lobsters—comparing feeding mechanisms; lobsters use their claws and mandibles (mouthparts) to bring bits of food to their mouth, while starfish bring not only their mouth, but their entire stomach to their food by climbing on top of their prey and then literally ejecting their stomach and digesting externally, sucking it back in only once they’ve finished the meal. It was great to be able to compare and contrast the different organisms. We wondered together if the starfish, like the lobsters, had been attracted by the tuna or if it had just ended up in the trap randomly today. We decided to test it out with more Tuna and see what comes back next time. I’ll have to pick up some more tomorrow. Stay tuned to see what else this fantastic new bait turns up…


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