All right, I admit it. I am a fan of weird and bizarre animals. And, by definition, since nothing truly bizarre can have a backbone, that means I am fond of weird invertebrates. And by doggies, have I got one for you! And me! I have been working diligently on my next article for CORAL and it is coming along nicely. And, of course, that sounds a lot like “So far, so good!”, a phrase heard 29 times, once as he passed each floor, by a fellow who jumped off a 30 story building. Actually, I do think it is going well. Nonetheless, I felt the need for a mental break yesterday and started to do some surfing looking for odd critters. And, boy, oh boy… While doing a dance with Ms. Google, I came across a rather enigmatic headline, “Polypodium hydriforme, (Coelenterata) in Paddlefish from the Upper Missouri River Drainage.” Several things about this sentence started the chimes going at full volume for me. First, paddlefish are strange fish. Related to sturgeon, they look rather like sawfish, but unlike sawfish, they live in freshwater. Prior to when the Missouri River was turned into a series of interconnected lakes, paddlefish ranged in the Yellowstone River, probably up to Livingston, Montana, about 30 miles south of where I live. Now, paddlefish are vanishingly rare and becoming rarer by the hour. All species go extinct, but the time when the Missouri River populations of Paddlefish exit the stage appears to be approaching much more rapidly than might have been thought the case even a few decades ago. Which I think is really too bad, as I think they are neat fish. Second, the first three words of the sentence, “Polypodium hydriforme (Coelenterata), really woke me up. MORE: Caviar-Eating Hydroids…
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