you don’t have to be charismatic megafauna to be clever

Sure, you walk into the pet store and head right for the thirty foot python… (me, grade school, pretty sure Kaa would have made all the Mean Kids scream and run)(I also remind you that in the BOOKS he was NOT a villain but one of Mowgli’s teachers)…

…or the Dory fish. (like Dory, I am absolutely topographically impaired).

Image result for Dory

Out in the wild, we seek hawks and eagles, whales and wolves.

Eastern Neck Is. MD inches from my paddle: Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge

(cownosed ray fins, near my kayak)

What we miss is the tiny LBJ birbs (little brown jobs, known by other less polite epithets for their distinct indistinctness). The little things under rocks that tell us how healthy that body of water really is.

I have a thing for macroinvertebrates. 

Macro (the opposite of micro) means big, but also small, as in macro photography which is about focusing on teeny tiny thingies. When applied to invertebrates, it means ones big enough to see without a microscope. Turn over a few rocks at the edge of a lake or in a stream and you will learn something about that water. If hiking along water, or kayaking, I will stop and see what’s under…



(giant water bug nymph)

(I have a few gazillion pics there of fabulous things found under local waters.)


A friend is stuck in an apartment with silly rules about pets. Her solution for the moment is one beta fish.

Image result for betta fish

This is a typical one, colorful, smallish (smaller than a goldfish), fairly easy to keep. I have talked to several people who have kept them and they react to their humans, flaring fins and focusing on people approaching the tank (presumably with food). The tendency to keep them in jars with lilies is ridiculous, while they temporarily inhabit puddles as small as a water buffalo footprint in the wild, the operative word there is temporary (and they can flip, like Nemo and Marlin, to the next bit of water). In your house, you should give them a proper aquarium habitat.

To add to the habitat, my friend got some ghost shrimp. They are far tinier than the sort you have at the seafood restaurant, and glasslike.

Image result for ghost shrimp

That is a typical aquarium ghost shrimp (freshwater, like the beta).

This is one I got a pic of on a marine explorers program on Assateague Island VA (saltwater). I camped one year in spring when the sea was bioluminescent. A shallow backwater glowed with tiny trails of light which, when you turned on a flashlight, proved to be tiny fish or shrimp. The shrimp left V trails from their antenna.

One tends to think of these as seafood.

You don’t think of them as living creatures, solving the problems their environment presents. My friend says…

What was that Gandalf said? Even the smallest of us can make a difference?

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