In order to demonstrate their newly discovered knowledge of marine species (the good, the bad, and the attractive…) Marine Ecology students have been creating original “Match.com” profiles for local marine life. Check out these hot new profiles and ask yourself: who would you rather spend an evening with: The sleek White Spotted Octopus, the too-cool Mandarin Fish, or the sweet Schoolmaster Snapper. (The Schoolmaster Snapper is more my type…)
White-Spotted Octopus by Nick Manning
Oh, I didn’t see you there; I’m a White Spotted Octopus, it’s nice to meet you. If flexibility is what you look for, seek no farther; I’m 100% compressible except for my beak. My white oval spots and my wart-like skin papillae on my mantle complement my brick red skin beautifully. I hope my appearance really reaches out to you like my arms, which are 4 times the size of my body. Speaking of my body, I carry a rounded, bulging head mounted by my 2 protruding eyes that pop out of the front. It’s amazing that my beautiful self grew out of a 1/8th inch egg.
When you do decide you want to meet me, I’m sure we can meet up in Florida, Bahamas, or the Caribbean, as well as any sub-tropical environment. Don’t get your hopes up, however, I wont appear for just anybody. Try coming down to my home in the sand flats and rubble areas adjacent to reefs. I like to hang out down there so I can forage along the reef edge for shrimp and crabs. I don’t like to come out in the day much, but when I do it’s usually for food. My only real hobbies are sleeping and eating, but I have been known to swim and eloquently change my shape.
I really hate it when I get disturbed. But if you mess with me you will get a flash of my bright red body, and a full flash of my white spots. When things kick in the rubble around reefs, I usually don’t take it so well. I will provide services to my home, however. As an active member of the food chain, I take pride in my role as crab-population-keeper-downer. Without me, crab populations would run amuck, spelling disaster for the creatures who already have enough competition for food, and the coral that works so hard to support the already existing populations.
Mandarin Fish by Nick Manning
Sup, I’m a Mandarin fish, also known as the Coral Reef Kaleidoscope fish. It’s chill I guess. Ya, I kind of have these brilliant colors all over my body. Some people tell me it’s kind of a big deal, but I don’t want to flaunt or anything. I mean, nobody wants to eat me; I’m just to colorful for most people. They think I’m just too cool, or maybe I just taste bad, but I kind of rule. My body is covered by brightly colored stripes and spots, which are complemented by my sweet pectoral fins. They keep me balanced, and most other fish don’t really have them, so I’m just sort of a trendsetter I suppose. My eyes stick out of the front of my head so I can see things in front of me and to the side of me. I can also see in color, but it’s whatever, I don’t even care. Ya, I suppose the coolest part of my body is my long, pointed spine on my dorsal fin. Actually, maybe my thick skin is my best attribute. It’s my skin that allows me to live in my cracks near the bottom of the sea in the reef. If I bump anything, it won’t even matter.
I like to make myself look pretty untouchable; you could say it’s a hobby. I raise the big spike on my back, and nobody has anything on me. I spend most of my time hiding in the cracks of the reef, however, cause I don’t want everybody to be jealous too much of the time. From my cracks I eat pretty much whatever I want. Usually some smaller fish, or whatever floats by my home. One of my favorite meals is algae. Sense I have a hard mouth that is a little over the par of most fish, I can nibble at the algae around my home. This makes me a pretty important member of my reef. By nibbling the algae, I stop it from suffocating the reef. You could say I play a pretty big role in my food web, but I try to be modest. It’s a pretty hard life, being more colorful and important than the other fish, but somebody has to do it. The reef is just lucky to have somebody like me who is willing to take the job. The only thing I ask in return is that nobody annoy me by disrupting my home, or my making me produce too much of the mucus I use to deter predators. It smells pretty bad. Peace.
Schoolmaster Snapper by Sarah Becker:
Welcome to your first day of the rest of your life! You have a lot to learn about! First, take out your notebook and a writing utensil. You’ll want to take some notes. Everyone ready? Okay, allow me to introduce myself. I am the Schoolmaster snapper, and I’m a little shy, especially around divers, but at the end of the year, I mean, our last date, I’ll know your name. We’ll have to go out at night though because I’m busy hovering in schools all day, plus I’m a noctural feeder. I know a great restaurant though in my neighborhood where they serve all of my favorites, like small fish, crab, shrimp, crustaceans, and mollusks. Though some snappers tend to lurk in the shadows of hard corals or in and on sponges, I’ve saved and invested in some nive real estate in shallower waters near a reef. It’s fairly close to a mangrove swamp, and the perfect place to raise a family. As I mentioned, teaching is my profession, and I take it very seriously. I am an advocate of strict discipline and I keep the reef in line by eating the species that I do so that the food chain and the school stay in working order. I’ve been told I have a distinct profile, so you’ll know me when you see me, but just in case you have trouble picking me out from the other identical fish in my school, I have a triangular shaped head, a long pointed face, notched tail, and bright yellow fins, so my students can always find me. I’d love to meet someone new as it gets boring at school all day. Better be nice to me though-I’ve been known to cause food poisoning- but I’m still one of the most highly sought after fish. They saw there are always more fish in the sea, but in my case, I’m highly prized so don’t dilly-dally. Thank you, that’s all for today. Have a great afternoon and please remember to finish all your homework! See you tomorrow and everyday for the rest of our life together……