Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

May 1, 2011


When I graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1986 (!!), one of my first clients was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Back then, the MBARI program hadn't yet been developed. When the deep sea subs finally made their maiden voyages into the trenches, the scientists brought back dozens of newly discovered critters. One of my assignments was to illustrate the animals -- or more specifically, put them back together. Because, when they were brought to the surface, they literally fell to pieces.
Deep sea animals are soft, fleshy, and adapted to intense pressure. They can't withstand the lack of pressure at the surface.

Anyway, I'd meet up with the scientists and they'd hand over jars of what used to be a fish, or a squid, or a siphonophore. There was no video, no photos to help me. Somehow we managed to recreate the animals, and the illustrations were published in educational brochures, booklets, and on note cards. I no longer have the original illustrations, and I'd given back the specimens. The images and the jars of critters are just memories now.

Amazingly, I just discovered the above video on the MBARI site. I remember the squid with one eye larger than the other! The 'Dumbo' octopus, and the jellies. Anyway, it's a nice glimpse into the deep, rare places off the California coast. Enjoy.


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