FIRST UP: No. 2 seed Midgardia Seastar (Midgardia xandaros) vs No. 6 seed Ammonite (Didymoceras nebrascense) #2021MMM Figure of Midgardia xandaros on the right, from the original
Sea Beasties should be TERRIFYING based on the origins of their names: fabulous sea monster of middle earth (Midgardia Seastar) & paired horns (Ammonite). But Round 1 & 2 action has been, well, NOT TERRIFYING. Maybe this round will be different??? #2021MMM
What IS Midgardia Seastar, anyway? Seastars also go by the name starfish, but starfish are not fish! They are echnioderms along with sand dollars, sea urchins & sea cucumbers. Midgardia Seastar belongs to the order Brisingida, which are primarily deep-sea animals #2021MMM Image is a collage of colorful echinoderms, including seasta
Brisingida is derived from "Brising" or "Brisingamen", the necklace of Odin's wife, Freya (which may have been star shaped). Story goes that this necklace was hidden by Loki in the oceanic abyss (see more by @echinoblog here:… #2021MMM Image of Freya with the Brisingamen on the left. This image
How about an Ammonite? What is it? Ammonites are evolutionary successful, but extinct molluscs, specifically a distinct type of cephalopod. Other cephalopods include squid, octopus, cuttlefish & nautilus. Ammonite myths & legends abound across time & cultures #2021MMM Image is a collage of mollucs, specifically squid, octopus,
Ammonites are also called snakestones because their fossilized remains look like coiled snakes turned to stone. Others legends: Greek (horned god, Jupiter Ammon), Chinese (horn stones), Native Americans (Buffalo stones) & Hindu culture (saligrams)… #2021MMM Image is a collage of ammonite folklore and myths (all from
Ammonites went extinct ~66 million years ago (end of the Cretaceous Period). Ammonite declines may have already been occurring, possibly in response to the changing ocean conditions including prey & predator fauna (Ward 1983;…) #2021MMM
Our battle tonight is in the Gulf Mexico, AGAIN! This time, we're at another known specimen location, ~760 m below the ocean's surface #CollectionsAreEssential #2021MMM Image is a snapshot from @GBIF, showing the locality of the
Midgardia Seastar is actually doing something! Her arms are raised up & she's suspension feeding (Pawson 1976 & Downey 1986;…) #SmallMouthNoProblem #2021MMM Images is from a Downey 1986 showing a seastar suspension fe
Suspension feeding is a common behavior among deep-sea brisinged seastars (Emson & Young 1994;…); some species use the spines on their arms to catch prey like velcro #2021MMM
700+ m below the ocean's surface in the Gulf of Mexico is cold, 6 degrees C (~43 degrees F). But not too cold for our Ammonite! Our Ammonite was often associated with ancient methane cold water seeps in the Western Interior Seaway (Handle 2014…) #2021MMM
Similar to other helically coiled gastropods (Ward 1983), our Ammonite is near the seafloor floating vertically just above the waving arms of the Midgardia Seastar. Ammonite drops closer & closer towards Seastar #2021MMM
Midgardia Seastar continues to wave its arms completely unaware of the descending Ammonite [gif is a red flight flashing "Warning"] #2021MMM
Other shelled cephalopods, like nautiloids, tend to spend their days between 200-800 m in depth (Dunstan et al. 2011;…). Internally-shelled cephalopods like squid can go much deeper (1900+ m; #2021MMM
700+ m below the ocean's surface is ~1041 pounds of pressure per square inch. Oof, that's a lot. But, Midgardia Seastar is ADAPTED to deep sea pressure. And, as we just saw, cephalopods can also go pretty deep. Ammonite continues to float downward towards our Seastar #2021MMM
POP!!!!!! #2021MMM
AMMONITE IMPLODES (Kanie et al. 1980… & Ward et al. 1980…!!! [gif is a watermelon exploding] #2021MMM
Although Nautilus species can withstand pressures >750m, our Ammonite's shell is structurally different than nautiloids (Ward 1983) & the Western Interior Seaway, location of our Ammonite species, maxed out at 760 m. Our Ammonite can't take the pressure!! #UnderPressure #2021MMM

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More from @je_light

23 Mar
NEXT UP: No. 2 seed Midgardia Seastar (Midgardia xandaros) vs No. 7 seed Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsuta). This battle is #TeamWork between myself & @Mammals_Suck #2021MMM Image is a Midgardia Seastar on the left, located on the sea
In Norse mythology, Migard (Migardia) Serpent was the child of LOKI! Our Seastar's species name, xanderos, is Greek for fabulous sea monster. More about deep-sea starfish from #ActualLivingScientist @echinoblog here:… [gif is Loki flipping knives] #2021MMM
Unfortunately, little is known about our long-legged creature of the deep. There are less than 20 specimens in natural history collections, most at the @TAMU Biodiversity Research & Teaching Collections #BRTC #CollectionsAreEssential #2021MMM Midgardia xandaros specimen from the Texas A&M University Bi
Read 15 tweets
19 Mar
FIRST UP: No.1 seed Dugong (Dugong dugon) vs No. 8 Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus). Teamwork battle by myself & @MarcKissel (& a great assist from @Mammals_Suck), with genetics info from @sexchrlab & @StoneLab_ASU #2021MMM Image of a Dugong floating vertically in the water on the le
Although our two combatants may seem really different (one being obligate aquatic in tropical, marine waters & the other terrestrial in mountain forests), they do have one thing in common......TUSKS #2021MMM Image of Dugong skull on left, Musk Deer skull on right, bot
Dugong tusks are elongated second incisors, similar to elephants (remember, Dugongs & Elephants are close relatives!). Tusks are found in all adult males (& mature females). Take a spin on @Sketchfab to have a look:… #2021MMM
Read 16 tweets
12 Mar
FIRST UP: No.1 seed Dugong (Dugong dugon) vs No. 16 seed Colo Colo Opossum (Dromiciops gliroides). Genetics tweets for this battle provided by the awesome @sexchrlab #2021MMM Picture of a dugong on the left.  It is a large grey marine
Dugongs are found in tropical, marine waters of the eastern hemisphere oceans. These large mammals (3m long, 300kg) never come out of the water; they are obligate, aquatic specialists #2021MMM Map of range of the dugong with areas it lives highlighted.
Dugongs are 1 of 2 living genera within the order Sirenia. The other living genus is Trichechus, or Manatees (a #2019MMM combatant!). Tricksy taxonomy: what in the world are Sirenians? Where do they belong in the mammal phylogenetic tree? #2021MMM
Read 16 tweets
11 Mar
NEXT UP: No.5 seed Red Brocket (Mazama americana) vs No. 12 seed Siberian Weasel (Mustela sibirica) #2021MMM
GET THIS: Red Brocket is RED! This South American deer species is reddish-brown in coloration across most of its body, perfect for camouflage in dense, tropical forests #2021MMM
Red Brockets are the biggest of the Mazama cervids. Our male Red Brocket is ~4.3 stoats long (145 cm) & he's dense weighing in at 30 kg (136 stoats) #StoatsAsMeasurement #2021MMM
Read 18 tweets
13 Mar 20
LAST UP: No. 8 seed Finlayson's Squirrel (Callosciurus finlaysonii) vs No. 9 seed Kowari (Dasyuroides byrnei) #2020MMM
Finlayson's Squirrel is our 3rd #TeamRodent of the night. These "beautiful squirrels" (but aren't they all??) are quite lovely with highly variable coat colors ranging from all white to all black to all red (Boonkhaw et al. 2017 #2020MMM
In fact, Callosciurus is Greek for beautiful ('callo'), shadow ('skia'), & tail ('oura') (Borror 1960 Finlayson's Squirrel are #smol squirrels (1.3 stoats #StoatsAsMeasurements), found in the trees (arboreal) in southeast Asia rainforests #2020MMM
Read 18 tweets
12 Mar 20
FIRST UP: No.1 seed Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus) vs No. 16 seed & wildcard winner Pygmy Spotted Skunk (Spilogale pygmaea) #2020MMM
Our #TeamDogsish Pygmy Spotted Skunk is a #smol skunk, blackish-brown in color w/creamy-buff longitudinal stripes over most of the body. The genus name Spilogale is derived from the Greek "spilos" (spot) and "gale" (weasel) (Kinlaw 1995 #2020MMM
The Pygmy Spotted Skunk is @IUCNRedList vulnerable due to rapid human encroachment on their Pacific Mexican habitat, hunting, & predation by CATS AND DOGS! #IntraOrderCarnage… #2020MMM
Read 13 tweets

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