Marine Diversity Blooms in C.R.

December 21, 2007

Costa Rica’s seas teem with all manner of creatures great and small.

With the Caribbean’s celebrated biodiversity and the Pacific’s awesome productivity, divers here experience things landlubbers might never imagine.

Have you ever heard of the bull’s-eye electric ray? Have you ever seen a seahorse? Did you know that whales sing long songs and that eels grow in gardens?

The octopus can change colors as fast as liquid lightning, and tuna swim faster than you can see.

Did you know that the ocean glows when the moon is hiding? Or that on cloudy nights the stars come out underwater and a coral reef looks like a night-lit city? Dolphins leave glowing trails, and you would have an aura.

On a full moon you can see underwater almost as if it were daytime.

Dolphin skin smells like a new wetsuit, and girl dolphin breath smells girly. Most people can smell a big school of fish under the boat. A whale’s breath stinks and is, you might say, gross.

The guitarfish looks kind of like a guitar and makes a sound like an electric guitar.

Grouper call night and day to each other on the reef, and it sounds like ducks. A giant dolphin party sounds like a giant people party in an unfamiliar language.

A reef is a noisy place. You can hear fish chew coral and snapping shrimp snap. Rain underwater sounds like static on the radio.

You can hear a humpback whale from more than 10 kilometers away.

Waves underwater feel like the wind through your hair. A dolphin’s skin is smooth, and you can feel the rock-solid muscle underneath. Some sponges sting, and comb jellies don’t.

A Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish can sting you from 30 meters away, but you have to be on top of a stingray to get stung.

You can kill coral if you touch it. You can eat a flying fish. The giant dolphins pseudorcas have been giving fish gifts, including tuna, to people for many years here in Costa Rica. Orcas eat turtles, and rays like chips. Green moray eels and blue jack hunt together. Just about all marine life loves to eat spawning sardines. And dolphins like sashimi for Christmas dinner.

 

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