Thursday, August 1, 2013

Something Crazy Washed Up

We go frequently to the intertidal near the town of Veracruz, just outside Panama City. We see lots of things washed up along the drift line.  Mostly garbage like flip-flops, diapers and plastic bags.  Sometimes shells and fish bones.  But once in a while there is something a little more interesting.

Here's something crazy Matt Starr and I saw in the intertidal a little while ago.

It looks like its defenses backfired on this pufferfish. It must have puffed up and got stuck in the predator's mouth.  

When they are not puffed up (lacquered and hanging from the ceiling of tacky bars), puffers look chunky, but not balloon-like.   Here is a happy one I photographed in Coiba.

It seems that this is not the only time a puffer's defenses didn't work out very well.  I've seen a dead puffer lying in a cemetery (how appropriate) more than a mile from the sea.  I imagine that it was dropped by a seabird, unfortunately for the puffer, not over the ocean.

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