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Thursday, September 14, 2006
Catching up with all the blogs I missed in the last month, I descended upon the Invasive Species Weblog tonight.
Always good for a botanical chuckle or two, I nearly spat out my cherry-flavoured honey toast* when I read that rock snot (Didymosphenia geminate) is now on the Oregon Department of Agriculture's top 100 dangerous invasive species.
How delightfully obscene - a plant called rock snot! The grade two boy in me wanted to know more.
Rock snot, also called didymo, is a diatom. Millions of these single-celled organisms turn fresh-water streams into vats of brown slime by latching on to rocks. Hailing from northern Europe, rock snot starts out as bubble-shaped warts on rocks that feel "like wet cotton wool." In later stages, "streamers turn white at their ends and fragments float downstream similar to clumps of tissue paper". Rock snot is highly invasive; to stop its spread, fishermen must sterilize their clothing and wet pets must be thoroughly dried off for 48 hours before plunging them into new waters.
Also on the list for those of us who like the bizarre are the following:
And bonus point to the Inavasive Species Weblog's Dr. Jennifer Forman Orth for more new vocabulary: myrmecologist (a person who studies the life cycles, behavior, ecology, or diversity of ants - which led me to hymenopterist, or a person who studies the life cycles, behavior, ecology, or diversity of wasps and bees) and piscicide (a chemical substance for destroying fish pests).
*I prefer my toast rare. If you should ever need to win favour with me by offering me toast, keep this in mind.
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