Daily Blog 14
In the morning we worked on lion fish dissections. Unfortunately Sami and I were only able to dissect the smaller lion fish, so while dissecting the lion fish, we were unable to identify the sex of ability to spawn. The organs were too small to be identified. However, we were able to see that one of the lion fish we dissected had a small inside! The fish was only partially digested so we were able to identify some of the body parts. I learned in Jessica’s lecture on invasive species that the native fish do not recognize lion fish as predators, so it was sad to see the digested fish inside its stomach. I never actually got to see the lion fish while they were alive, so as I saw Scott use the tongs to carefully remove its venomous anal, pectoral, and dorsal spines, I was wondering how intimidating the lion fish would have looked with it’s spines. Although lion-fish in the Caribbean have caused awful effects as invasive species in removing native fish species, I think their warning coloration are visually captivating- the brown lines around their head and body are incredibly detailed, and their venomous spines are quite scary. One of my favourite parts of the dissecting has to be consuming the fish- Scott made a mean ceviche.
In the afternoon I went on an optional snorkel. A couple of us snorkeled to the nearby patch reef, moving from one place to another. I got to see a few squirrel fish exhibiting their usual behaviour- swimming away from me, hiding in rock crevices, and erecting their dorsal spines when I got too close. While swimming back, I got to see a sting ray! For some reason it was exhibiting really interesting behaviour- it was fluttering it’s body (non-propelling but undulating locomotion). It clearly wasn’t moving to swim, and it was just causing a disturbance in the sediments on the benthos. Perhaps it was hunting or practicing some other type of behaviour. The sediments the sting ray was raising from the benthos made it difficult to identify its shape and colour, so I can’t decide if it’s a southern stingray because I only got a glimpse of its yellow-beige coloured back.
To end the day perfectly, we got on a boat and headed to Marisol on Southwest Cage. We ordered our drinks and had them by the docks overlooking the shoreline of the island and I ate some conch ceviche. Conch ceviche with chips was probably my favourite thing I’ve eaten all trip. Later Rose taught us to dance in the Belizean way, and we had an amazing time trying and failing to imitate Rose. Once we got back on Middle Caye, we watched the beautiful sunset on the dock and lowered diving lights once it got completely dark.