Opisthobranchia :: (Greek opistho-, behind; brankhia, gills; gills to the right and behind the heart”) :: highly evolved gastropods, characterised by a single gill behind the heart, from which the subclass derives its name and two pairs of tentacles ... Many have brilliant colours, warning their predators to stay away. These wonderful creatures are hard to study, because their presence is so transitory, turning up, sometimes in very large numbers, at unexpected moments. Members of this order include what are commonly known as sea slugs and more specifically groups such as the canoe shells, sea butterflies, sea hares, and nudibranchs.
Sea Slug :: A tiny snail from the California seacoast has become an invaluable model for researchers to study the memory process and the workings of the human brain. A marine snail called the sea slug (see photo), which resembles a common pond snail without the protective shell, has been conditioned to respond to light flashes. The snail's response to the light flashes exhibits a primitive memory response. The sea slug is used for this type of research because it has the largest known, clearly identifiable brain cells in the animal kingdom. Researchers are thus able to use them to study the roles of brain cells and nerve impulses through the cells. The study of the snail's memory process, known as pattern recognition, may eventually help scientists develop computerized robots that may be used for a variety of tasks. The results found from this work in snails are currently the basis for more advanced studies in a mammalian species, rabbits, and in computers. After studying and recording the snail's ability to recognize patterns, researchers are translating the mechanics of pattern-recognition into its electronic components, developing primitive computer-based memory systems.
Hypselodoris apolegma :: Yonow (2001) chose the specific name "Apolegma" as it is Greek for the hem of a robe, which refers to the white margin which is not sharply distinct from the violet mantle.
Catfish of the Month no. 99 Chinese Catfish, Namazu Silurus asotus :: The Namazu (the Japanese name for Silurus) is a giant catfish that lives in subterranean waters deep beneath the earth. On its head rests the kaname-ishi, a giant stone that resides in a shrine in the city of Kashima (near Tokyo) [because of its geographic location, the stone is often erroneously referred to as the Kashima stone]. The purpose of the stone is to pin the catfish still, but the weight of the stone alone is not sufficient for that. The Kashima Deity (Kashima daimyojin) must assist by pushing down on the kaname-ishi. The Kashima Deity sometimes falls asleep, is distracted, or has to leave for a meeting (in which case the deity Ebisu fills in, but Ebisu is frequently lax). Whatever the case, these lapses in vigilance cause the pressure on the namazu to be relaxed, giving it some freedom of movement. The thrashing of the namazu would result in an earthquake, the intensity of which depended on the vigor of its movements. Eventually, the earthquakes would subside and it was deemed that the Kashima Deity was back in control of things. The image (left) shows the Kashima Deity back in control of the Namazu after his temporary lapse, and all the lesser namazu (aftershocks) bow down in submission.
Namazu to kaname-ishi Namazu and the foundation stone :: Fires rage and the earth shakes while a tired-looking Ebisu – fi lling in for the Kashima Deity who is out of town to attend a meeting in Izumo – dozes. And what else is going on? For one thing, money (large gold coins) is falling from the burning city. The person on the left is the thunder deity. He seems to be engaging in a peculiar pastime of the less sophisticated Edoites – extreme farting, or “thunder farting.” The object of this new sport was to make more noise than your opponents. What might look like excrement are actually small drums, which emphasize the “thunder” element. The guy on horseback at right is the Kashima deity, rushing back from his meeting (with other major deities – they have a convention every year) in Izumo. So, the Kashima deity is out of town, his temporary replacement, the likeable but less diligent deity Ebisu, is sleeping on the job, and the thunder deity, who should be working, is off at the Ryôgoku Bridge literally farting around. And these incompetent deities have allowed a major disaster to unfold in the form of a fire-ravaged, post-earthquake Edo.
Trying to get the kaname-ishi back in place :: This image is based on scenes from the kabuki and nô theatre. Here, the Kashima Deity is using a rope and pulleys to re-position the kaname-ishi back on top of the namazu's head.
JAPAN (Mythaeum) :: The stone Kaname-ishi is in the centre of the earth, penetrating downward to the earth’s interior (Japan).
Earthquake Researches in Japan :: In Japan an old legend ascribes earthquakes to the movements of a creature called Jishin-mushi, "earthquake insect", having, as was related by Mr. O. Hattori, to the Asiatic Society of Japan in 1878, an oblong, scaly body, 10 legs, feet like a spider's, and the head of a dragon. On this head, however, at a place called Kashima, rests the Kaname rock, with which it is the duty of the Kami or deity of the district to keep the creature as quiet as possible. Hence the old earthquake couplet: No monster can move the Kaname rock, Though he tug at it never so hard, For ever it stands, resisting the shock; The Kashima-kami on guard. Later in history the Jishin-mushi became a monstrous cat-fish.