Monday, July 26, 2010

An Interesting Misapprehension

(with an emphasis on “apprehension.”)

The male cuttlefish in the invertebrate exhibit, which is apparently more flamboyant than the female (from whom, by the way, they have to keep him separated so he won’t eat her), was really showing off his color- and texture-changing abilities, making his skin stippled and bumpy, then smooth again, and developing all sorts of dramatic black-and-white stripes—all this while hanging suspended high in the water, tentacles extended dramatically like the raised arms of a magician.

A little boy who was visiting the zoo with his grandfather took one look and cried fearfully, “Is it a dragon?”

Even though his grandfather assured that it was no such thing, he refused to come near the tank.

I felt very sorry for him, but I was also fascinated by his immediate identification of this marine creature with a mythical, fire-breathing beast. I have to admit, since that moment, my own perception of dragons has changed.


Anca said...

SO HE WON'T EAT HER? MY perception of the cute cuttlefish has suddenly changed. He may not take a kid's arm off, but what about the poor female of his own species?

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

I know--but this may to some extent be an artifact of aquarium living. Certainly some species of cuttlefish--probably most of them--don't go around eating one another in the wild.

Anca said...

Ok, I can see that. Who knows what I'd be driven to trapped in an aquarium? I'm looking at him, and he's gone back to being really adorable.

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