[Tweeters] The Banded Slinkeroo Redux

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sat Aug 5 11:05:15 PDT 2017

My laptop has been at the repair shop for a month (and for some of that time I've also been in a repair shop). Today I got it back and it works, thanks to the skilled geeks at Hadlock Computer Repair - they really went the extra mile.

So lately I've been stuck with my cell phone, and it with me. It got updated and now is more confusing than ever. I now got that Siri thing, which doesn't understand my voice half or more of the time. I'll say something like 'what is the nearest car repair' and get a reply like "did you ask if the cow ran out of air?" One day, not realizing Siri was still listening, I blasted out a long stream of nasty swear words about my phone and got the response - "I'd blush if I could". I didn't realize Siri was so sensitive, and has sort of a sense of humor. So I'm trying to be nicer.

Anyhoo, my last post was sent by iPhone with one finger typing - texting basically - which I strongly dislike as a form of communication. After mis-sending my last unfinished post, it took a half hour of practicing meditation techniques to prevent me from throwing the damn phone out the window.

Now, back to my Banded Slinkeroo story, which I tried to post on 6/25.

Back on the floating dock down at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center I've been watching plankton - and the watching has been good, at least before the big minus tides we just have had, which murked up the water, plus it had been variously breezy and that can create surface reflecions difficult to see through. But several days later in June were exceptional viewing.

It was two days of fairly high tides when I was there in the evening.The first day, the waters enclosed by the pier were swarming with thousands of visible plankters, and undoutably billions of those too small to see without a microscope. Plankter is the term for individual members of the overall plankton soup. As I sat plunked down on the edge of the float, (with my close focusing binocs of course) I saw all sorts of stuff slowly drifting by. One type of plankter had me stumped : very slender and mostly transparent spaghetti , several went by, ranging from about 1 to 3 inches long and seemingly eel-like, so my first impression was of some sort of larval stage fish.But they were't moving like a fish, just drifting by.

I kept watching hoping for a better look and got some : the head end of the body, small noodle size or so, very gradually tapered down to a fine point - no tail fin. The the final giveaway that this was no fish were two big red globular eyes stuck right on the end of the head. While mostly transparent ,the creature had bands of glowing blue and pink which is how I spotted them in the first place. The tail half of the critter was often intricly folded in sort of a very slinky way. Not really knowing what these creatures were, I named them the Banded Slinkeroo.

Starting to think they were some kind of worm, I thumbed thru the Science Centers copy of that great photo book "Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest" (Hanby & Lamb). There are a lot of marine worms but I found my guy - a different species but with same diagnostic big googly eyes.

Further internet snooping confirmed that the Slinkeroos are actually "Big-eyed Pelagic Worms" (family Alciopidae) that drift thru open water preying on smaller zooplankton. So there you have it.

Pretty cool creatures, if you ask me.

Jeff Gibson

slinking around

Port Townsend Wa

More information about the Tweeters mailing list