I was paid a visit yesterday by that intrepid explorer, Flat Stanley. He came by seeking to meet up close and personal our Octopus rubescens who has lived in my lab for the past year. Donning a quart "zip-lock" sandwich bag, Flat Stanley fearlessly mounted the end of the feeding stick and gave me the "thumbs up" to begin lowering him into the octopus's lair. At first "ruby" tentatively reached out an arm to gently sample the odour of this alien descending into her world. Then, without warning, Ruby pounced, enveloping Flat Stanley in a deadly embrace - pulling his fragile plastic dry suit perilously close to her snapping beak. I tried to pull him up, but it was too late. The grip of the powerful suckers could not be broken. What to do? I quickly threw Flat Stanley the only weapon that Ruby feared - a thick bristled cleaning brush. Flat Stanley rammed the brush into her mouth. Ruby relented for just a moment giving me the chance pull Flat Stanley free of her clutches. As he cleared the tank rim, I slammed shut the lid as Ruby voraciously tried to follow him. Flat Stanley was safe and as we peeled off his baggy, not one drop of Ruby's venomous salivation had touched him. She sat sulking in the far corner of her tank, patches of red dancing over her skin reflecting her mood.
Next up for Stanley, a visit to the Lysiosquillina maculata burrow where Flat Stanley wanted to see first hand why these mantis shrimp are known as the "Fastest Claw in the West". Unfortunately, the scene was to gruesome and I cannot in good taste post an image of what transpired. Does anyone have some "Elmer's"?