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Parasite Flounder

Larval Flounder with Parasite (Wayne Ferrebee, 2020) Ink and colored pencil on paper

The strictures of the world’s new routine have allowed me to finish coloring/inking an ocean-themed drawing I have been working on.  Unfortunately, no matter how I adjust the darkness and the contrast, I can’t get it to look like it does in the real world, so I am afraid that you will have to accept this frustrating digital simulacra (aka the jpeg above).

Broadly speaking, this series of flatfish artwork concern the anthropogenic crisis facing Earth life (particularly life in the oceans, which most people tend to overlook and undervalue), however they are not meant as simple political polemics.  Hopefully, these artworks reflect the ambiguous relationships within life’s innumerable intersecting webs of symbiosis, predation, and parasitism.

Humankind appears directly in this artwork–but symbolically rendered as sea creatures so that we can contemplate our nature at a level of remove.  From left to right, one of these merpeople is the host of a big arrow crab which seems to have stolen his mind (in the manner of a cunning paper octopus hijacking a jellyfish).  The larval flounder is itself being ridden (and skeletonized) by a great hungry caterpillar man thing which has sunk its claw legs deep into the bone.  A lovely merlady plucks away a parasitic frond from a cookie-cutter shark as a shrimpman hunts and a chickenman stands baffled on the ocean bottom.

As we learn more about life we learn how it melds together, works in tandem, and jumps unexpectedly from species to species, or speciates into new forms. I wish I could describe this better, since to my comprehension it seems like the closest thing to a numinous truth we are likely to encounter in a world where gods are made up.  I have abandoned essays to try to portray the sacred and profane ways that lifeforms come together with art.  Let me know what you think, and I will see if I can scan it better.

Leopard nudibranch / Photo by John Williams

Leopard nudibranch / Photo by John Williams

Nudibranchs are gastropod mollusks which live in the oceans worldwide from the polar regions to the tropics.  The slugs live in virtually all depths and various species range from the shallow intertidal surf to  depths of more than over 700m.  Although the majority of nudibranchs are benthic creatures which crawl along the seafloor, some prefer other lives and float upside down under the oceans surface or swim in the water column.

Blue-tipped Nudibranch (Janolus Christus)

Blue-tipped Nudibranch (Janolus Christus)

Nudibranchs lose their vestigial shell during a larval phase.  To protect themselves they rely on toxins or unpleasant tasting chemicals which are advertised with extremely vivid colors.  In order to enliven the gray winter months, here is a little parade of lovely nudibranchs.  Enjoy!

Nudibranch by Hani Amir

Nudibranch by Hani Amir

Piggy Back Nudibranch M4 Cava.jpg (33601 bytes) Piggyback Nudibranch (Risbecia Tryoni) Photo by Laurie Cava

Piggy Back Nudibranch M4 Cava.jpg (33601 bytes)
Piggyback Nudibranch (Risbecia Tryoni) Photo by Laurie Cava

from jaysdaysaway

from jaysdaysaway

james-forte-blue-with-yellow-spots-nudibranch-or-sea-slug-phyllidia-varicosa-solomon-islands

Nudibranch (Nembrotha kubaryana)

Nudibranch (Nembrotha kubaryana)

Image: cosmicmache.blogspot.com

Image: cosmicmache.blogspot.com

"Nudibranch,

Image: cosmicmache.blogspot.com

Image: cosmicmache.blogspot.com

nudibranch

Hopkin's Rose Nudibranch (Hopkinsia rosacaea)

Hopkin’s Rose Nudibranch (Hopkinsia rosacaea)

Nudibranch by Dermal Denticles

Nudibranch by Dermal Denticles

Nembrotha cristata

Nembrotha cristata

purple_nudi_a

purple_nudibranch

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