Day 156 Que Es Esto #4

¿Que Es Esto?

Jan 10

I found this creature ‘crawling’ under a rock in a tide pool. I remembered it’s name from childhood, but I was completely wrong in my memory about ‘who they were.’ Do you know?

 Scroll down⇓


The one I found was about an inch and a half long and moved along at a rapid pace…. Here, I’ll show you click here:


This garment has the same name…. hint hint


 Scroll down⇓

Any ideas? How about if I tell you that they’re not related to trilobites (which is what I thought).

¿Que Es Esto?….. find out…..

Es Esto…. #3

Es esto un Pez Erizo Pecoso

If you guessed a porcupine fish…. You were RIGHT!


One of Mother Nature’s practical jokes

You might think that the poodles’ mom didn’t want us being eaten because of all those spines but it’s not just that. Some of us carry a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. is 1200x more potent than cyanide.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about this fish. I found that many sources were mistaken by saying that the porcupine fish is the same as a puffer, burrfish, blowfish and or ballonfish by basing their criteria on the fact that they puff-up when frightened . In fact they are all related, coming from the same family, but they are not one in the same. I wont go into great detail about what sets these fish apart but I will give you links so you can explore for yourself.

I found these three to be the best sources:


 So how did I come to the conclusion that these were porcupines and not puffers, blow, burr, box, globe, balloon or hedgehog fish? It came down to two last identifying features:

  1. “unlike the pufferfishes, they have only a single plate of fused teeth in each of the upper and lower jaws.”
  2. “The porcupinefish is larger than the balloonfish, with a wider head, and has small black spots that cover the body and fins. The skin of the balloonfish is dominated by larger spots or dark blotches that occur only on the body, not on the fins.”

 Who knew?!

Porcupine fish are also related to our old friend the trigger fish


The story behind this picture coming soon….

and the enormous Sunfish that can grow up to over 5000 pounds!


Click here to read more about this gigantic fish

They all coming from the same order:  Tetraodontiformes

Porcupine fish are considered catch-and-release for obvious reasons


Fishing without rod at sunrise

Que Es Esta- Esta es……#2

 Esta es……

Not to be confused with a Sea Pen , what we have here is a Pen Shell

also called

Callo de hacha or Concha de hacha in Mexico


Click this sketch to read an extremely comprehensive paper on mollusks

Pen Shells will only be found on sandy or grassy bottoms exposed by very low tides.  Pen Shells live buried almost up to the tips of its shell so in their natural habitat they’ll look like this:th


Apparently these have the taste and texture of a scallop

In Mexico, there are two members of the Family Pinnidae, known as ‘hachas’ (hatchet) shells and as mentioned in the previously, is the highly prized anterior muscle. What’s pictured on the previous post and what the dogs were so anxious to eat wasn’t the muscle of the animal but the dried byssal threads and filtering system.



Pen shells have been harvested by the Comcáac Indigenous Community of Sonora (the Seri Indians) for centuries at extreme low tides from October to May. To day, due to the demand for this tasty meat, the Pen Shell is being overfished and the Seri harvesters are being put at risk by diving for their collection.

To learn more about how the Seri People are working to protect the Callo de Hacha and make their harvest a renewable resources click the picture bellow:





Que Es Esta #2

Shark attack (ed)


There are  small shark heads littered along the beach near Loreto, a sad example of non-sustainable fishing methods.  Mexico has leased out fishing in the Sea of Cortez to the Japanese a huge consumer of shark products.  As I always interject, however, we need to look at our own consumption of these products before criticizing to vehemently.


A tasty snack




 If you can guess this without any more clues I’ll give you a million dollars….   

Shall I give you a few hints?  These were left over from harvesting other parts of the animal and the poodles LOVED to gobble them up.  We found them on the beach near Los Amigos Playa where the coastal water was thick with seagrass.





Apparently, unlike the reckless harvesting of sharks, there are certain groups in Mexico who are trying to control the collection of these animals for consumption.  They are highly prized by local Peoples and often seen as delicacies in restaurants.  Perhaps you need a visual hint…..







seapenalthough not commonly seen on the backs of poodles, this gives you a nice perspective of its size.

¿Que Es Esta?……


A parting shot of wild beach poodles wresting over a shark’s head



It’s eat or be eaten around here!


Esta Es #1……


Nope, sorry.  I’m not a Stingray (although there are plenty of those around here too)


Classic Baja Stingray

My tail:


A Stingray tail:

stingray tail stingtail

But you’re saying…. I didn’t think you were a Sting Ray! Any idiot can tell that. Just look at the Stingray’s head.

If you thought I was a Manta Ray…. wrong again

The identifying feature is my mouth.  I am a Mobulas Ray (Una Móbulas).  My mouth is subterminal rather than terminal.  This just means in fancy-science-talk that my mouth is underneath and a Manta’s mouth is in the front.  Here’s a picture of a Manta Ray.  Click the picture to read more about ME… not the Manta.


You can see some really cool footage of others like me jumping through the Sea of Cortez click the image below:



and you can see a video and read a little story by Robbie Gonzalez by clicking this pictures:xc7ci4ptuxmgy3nd0brz

So…. ready for the next

      ¿Que Es Esto?

 Stay tuned……







Day 149-150 Que Es Esta?

Still in Loreto

Jan 3-4


I conceded and gave Nickel my wallet…. after emptying it of pesos course. You’d be surprise at what she’s inclined to buying.


Nickel carrying her wallet while watching Pelicans. Maybe she thought their beaks were big pocketbooks and she was going to give them some change.

Our first walk of the day was to the Marina which is a very nice walk along the harbor amongst with several large bronze statues; a Whale Shark and several Sea Lions, lines of fishing boats and dozens of Pelicans, Boobies, Gulls and terns taking advantage of the easy capture of fish in shallow waters.  Nickel was absolutely engaged with the Pelicans as they plummeted and crashed into the water.  I was worried at one point she might just follow a few into the bay.  Once again we were met by people asking questions about the dogs and children wanting to say hello.  Of course this was Eureka’s favorite part.loreto-marina

Later, the poodles and I scavenged along the shore north of Loreto and came up with some interesting creatures (at least parts of them) to research.  I thought it would be fun to post pictures and let you guess what they might be.  This might be too  much for the squeamish so be forewarned.

We’ll call the game…..

¿Que Es Esto(a)….. What is This?

Hints will be given as you go down the page and answer will be posted the following day.

¿QUE ES ESTA?stingrayhip This is my pelvis.  The poodles have decided this is the best thing on the beach to eat.  Their mom says it’s a good source of mucopolysaccharides, proteins, collagen, calcium, suffer, glucosamine and chondroitin.  Who cares.  The poodles say it tastes Grrrr-8!

scroll down↓

What’s your guess?








You might have thought I was a shark but you’re wrong.  This is my tail.  

Think you know????

scroll down↓










Nope, not a funny mask but that is my mouth.

scroll down↓










Have you guessed what I am yet?  Don’t be too sure!  ………….  

Tell us! What’s your best guess?

Day 147-148 Flotsam and Jetsam

Beach Combing

 January 1-2


The poodle girls and I spent the last two days walking the city and treasure hunting on the beach.  While I’ve indulged my inquisitiveness by looking for tiny shells, the poodles have discovered the joy of vertebrate and invertebrate dining. There’s a large number of these washed up on the beach and my thought is that they’re probably discards from fishing nets. There are quite a few trigger fish that have been filleted

trigger2 triggerbut I’ve also seen lots of stingrays, sharks, puffer and a whole slew of others creatures. Due to the dry desert air most of the remains are desiccated. For some reason, of all the tasty treats to choose from, Nickel prefers the puffers.wpufferOf course I can’t let her have those due to their long spines and potential toxicity, and besides, there are plenty of rays and sharks to go around. I figured it’s a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin so I let them chow down.



I was very pleasantly surprised to see such a clean beach. It was void of the usual plastic bottles and bags although littered with a plethora of seashells, fish fragments and other ocean tidbits; plenty to keep us all busy for a few days.  It’s not like what I saw last week when we drove from the central desert to Santa Rosalita and the shock I felt viewing the beach as we drove into town.  Sadly, Rosalie isn’t alone and probably represents many beaches across the world that are situate near industrial areas (this beach was north of town and near a mine).  And let’s face it!  My being here is contributes to the garbage issue: I’m also part of the problem. I mean, really, just the number of dog poop bags alone could tip the scales!  Never-the-less it was a shock to my system to witness after glimpsing the cobalt blue sea on the horizon as we approached the Sea of Cortex and my fantasizing about white sandy beaches.  I’m happy to say that the flip side of this is the effort I’ve seen by the local people to pick up, clean up and recycle.  The message is getting through.  In Guerraro Negro I drove out to a spit of land and saw what seemed to be a school project (since most of the people appeared to be in their teens) of a dozen or more people with large white bags picking up garbage along side the road.

Sometimes I have conflicting emotions about being a wealthy american barging my way through poorer and/or struggling countries but I think this is an example of a positive impact tourism can make (at least for the environment).


So back to Loreto…   I was warned by the campground owner not to walk the dogs up the beach due to some very large mean dogs so we walked south. Aside from one or two people, we never saw anyone and we were able to walk for miles.  It is a fairly rocky beach, which was perfect for me.  The days have been in the 70’s with wild wind to keep us cool and the surf rough…. bringing in all kinds of exciting things to discover.

 I’ll leave you with a few fish faces


Parrot Fish


? yellow fin?

and Nickel wanting demanding…..MORE!


♣”There’s a simple mnemonic that helps distinguish flotsam from jetsam. Flotsam (or floatsome) are those items which are floating as a consequence of the action of the sea. Jetsam are those which have been jettisoned by a ship’s crew (although that may float too of course).”♣

 Click here to read a little more about the origin of Flotsam and Jetsam