I’ve been frustrated at not being able to actively DO citizen-science while endlessly working on our research vessel here in San Carlos, Mexico. So, I decided I could at least use the daily cruisers’ net radio show to help grow fellow sailors’ understanding and appreciation for local, overlooked species of the sea. Going by my local handle of Chica Jo . . . there’s a plethora of sailing Jo’s here, it seems . . . I’ve been telling mysterious eco-stories about everything from hermaphroditic sea slug orgies to frankincense-making elephant trees. Here’s a fishy rap to share with you, since these critters are found in warm waters around the world. I’ll give the answer at the bottom.
This is Chica Jo with a transgender dandy
’bout plain looking gals who become flashy male eye candy.
If ya snorkel by slowly, you might not scare ’em
as they strut their stuff with their own swimming harem.
Now they sleep at night in their own mucus wraps
to stay safe from moray eels and other toothy traps.
Don’t think it’s gross – that goo’s got anti-oxidants
repelling parasites and fixing body scrapes and dents.
Hey! Look out your window and see the Gulf water…
There are five species here – not North –
’cause they only like the water where it’s hotter.
BumpHead, BiColor, ClueChin, LooseTooth, and Azure –
Those are common names of ours, you can be sure.
It’s time to clear up an important mis-conception
and give these swimmers a grateful, thankful reception.
Most folks think they munch on living coral polyps,
but they’re mostly just vegans, so there’s a news whallop.
They actually scrape algae off our coral and rock reefs
with their super-strong, beak-like, crazy fused teeth.
Thanks to them, corals have a place to attach, live, and grow,
so give ’em some appreciation now that you’re in the know.
Finally, Chica Jo says – Put on your mask, get in, and go see ‘um,
cause life is short – ya gotta carpe diem!
Oh, yeah … the fishy mystery answer is PARROT FISH. This is Chica Jo (Don’t call me Ho) … over and out.