Biology & Other Things That Interest Me

One of the fishes that we discussed today fascinated me; the hagfish. It turns out that the hagfish is a lot more fascinating (and a whole lot more disgusting) than I originally thought! Here are some fascinating facts I learned about it:

  • Hagfish can grow to be as large as 127 centimetres.
  • They have vestigal or no eyes.
  • They do not have a larva stage.
  • To clean themselves, they twist their bodies into an overhand knot, which slowly slides down the body to clean off the slime.
  • They can survive for months without feeding.
  • But when they DO feed, it is incredibly gross. The hagfish feeds by entering the body of another fish and feasting on it's insides. While they sometimes do this with dead fish, it turns out they can do this with live fish too; they literally eat the fish alive. From the inside out.
  • The hagfish cannot enter through the skin of a fish; whether the fish is alive or dead, they must enter by the mouth, gills or anus of it's prey.
  • It turns out that the slime that the hagfish are famous for producing is reinforced by strong threads that are similar to spider silk. These threads can be 12 centimetres long, and can unravel in the slime without tangling up. Researchers are currently working on a way to use this to our advantage.
For more information on this slime research, you can click on the following link: "Bio-Steel"
Anyways, I'll leave you with a YouTube video clip that shows just how quickly the mucus of the hagfish can turn saltwater into slime.

OceanLink. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from Biodiversity Web site:
Hagfish. In Wikipedia [Web]. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. Retrieved 12/10, 2008, from

One more video I found while browsing YouTube. Turns out that Discovery Channel actually has a ton of videos; one of which is a man, Bear Grylls, eating a beetle larva. The larva for beetles are actually known as "grubs", and can be quite nutritious, according to the host and my Outdoor Pursuits class. Anyways, this video is not for those with a queasy stomach; enjoy!

Okay, here's a few new YouTube videos for today. After Mr. Buntain's "farewell" to starfishes & the like today, I got curious about one species he mentioned; the sun star. So, here's a video of one of them moving forward; you can actually see the little crabs running away from it! And forgive the swearing, there's not much I can do about that. I suggest mute.

Anyways, here's another video just showing the underside of one of these creatures. It's a lot more uneventful than the previous video, though.

Many people consider the Great White to be scary; but can you imagine being confronted by a shark more than double it's size? There once existed a shark of this magnitude, and it was called a Megalodon. A Megalodon, which has now been extinct for almost 1.5 million years, could grow more than 56 feet in length, and an individual tooth could grow to over 18 centimeters in length. A tooth from the Megalodon is seen being compared to a quarter in the picture below:


A Megalodon (in red) as compared to a human

Man sitting in the jaws of a Megalodon

Bruner, J.C. (1997). The Megatooth shark, Carcharodon megalodon. Ichthyology, Retrieved 12/08, 2008, from

Roesch, B.S. (1999). A Critical Evaluation of the Supposed Contemporary... . The Cryptozoology Review, 3, Retrieved 12/08, 2008, from

Haha, hello everyone. It's been a while, I know. Anyways, just a small post for today. There was an interesting article covered by the television show 60 Minutes about "The Science of Sleep". It turns out that lack of sleep can be linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Well, maybe my 4 AM cram sessions aren't such a great idea after all. The link for the article is below; it's pretty long, but really good. Enjoy, and goodnight!

Sleep Deprivation Article


Stahl, Lesley (2008, June, 15). The Science of Sleep. CBS, Retrieved November 24, 2008, from


Finally something Biology related!


This is a magnified image of a water bear, or "tardigrade" to most scientists. They are measured in millimeters, and live in different waters and all around the planet. They can survive in temperatures ranging from almost absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius), to 151 degrees Celsius; they even can survive 1000 times the amount of radiation a normal organism can handle. Recently, however, they have been found to survive even in outer space. Read the following articles to find out more:
Article 1
Article 2

Courtland, R (2008/09/08). "Water Bears" are first animal to survive space vacuum. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from Web site:

J├Ânsson, et al. , I, et al. (2008/09/09). Tardigrades survive exposure to space in low Earth orbit. Current Biology, 16, Retrieved 09/23/2008, from

Goldstein, B (May 2008). Tardigrade. Retrieved 09/23/2008, from

Mythbusters 1

- For this first video, it shows the 2 hosts of Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie, attempting to beat a fingerprint security device, in their own unique way. As usual.
Mythbusters 2

- For this second video, Adam and Jamie attempt to paint the Mona Lisa with a paint ball gun.

And just because I can ...


Watterson, B (1990). Retrieved September 18, 2008, from AP Biology Web site: