Kirsti: In Cairns recently for a conference on social insects, I visited my Honours supervisor Jamie Seymour – the guy I’ve previously talked about as being a big influence in my science life.
In his past life Jamie was an entomologist, using integrated pest management strategies to increase food production and efficiency. But now he’s a toxicologist, conducting research on some of the most deadly animals in the world.
It’s really cool. And he has a really cool aquarium where he studies box jelly fish and other nasties that could stop a fabulous tropical paradise holiday in its tracks.
Jamie’s been doing a series with SmarterEveryDay, the YouTube channel with ultra awesome science stuff on it, and there are some really interesting clips, including one on milking stone fish!
Seriously. You have GOT to watch this! (you seriously do, it’s way wicked – Sarah) It shows the hypodermic-needle-like spine of a stone fish shooting out deadly venom as some rubber exerts pressure on it (simulating a foot or other unfortunate body part). Apparently there are about 1000 victims of stone fish spine impalement in Australia every year. Footwear isn’t always an effective barrier!
While I was at Jamie’s workplace – just for 20 minutes or so – I was treated to a baby saltwater crocodile launching itself at me from a mangrove tank, and a massive barramundi nearly jumping out of the aquarium at me! I’m currently working on my reflexes so that the next time I visit my chances of survival are much greater……
There are blue ringed octopuses, sea horses, a leopard shark they raised from an egg, wobbegongs, white tip reef sharks and more. It’s fascinating stuff, deadly animals!
[image thanks to Tetsuhiro Kikuchi on Flickr]