Fish without eyes
It is sometimes quite shocking what some people think the work of an animal biologist consists of. One day, when visitors to our house took a look at my aquarium and admired the fish in it, my ears had to hear the following comment: “Very interesting, but doesn’t it hurt them when you remove their eyes?” “What do you think?”, came my reply, “they are blind fish. They never have any eyes! They are Mexican cave fish, Astyanax mexicanus.” Stupid visitors (I did not say that), but they obviously did not know that some species of fish are naturally eyeless.
Water is more valuable than gold
In many parts of the world people are proud of their rivers, streams, and creeks. They speak of them with veneration, they have composed songs about them (e.g., A. Dvorak’ “The Moldau”), written stories about them (e.g., Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi”) and expressed in poetic verse how water hurtles down deep gorges, caresses the fingers of the weary hiker, and bathes the pebbles in soft murmur. But the reality in many countries is more than often far less romantic. That polluted waterways can, indeed, be “turned around” I have seen in Europe and Japan. When I first visited Japan in the 60s, some rivers I saw were filthy, disgustingly black and used as dumps for all kinds of garbage. And now? Not a trace of foreign objects; totally cleared up. Elsewhere in the world, however, it’s still bad.
“Fly eyes are the better to see you with”
When Little Red Riding Hood in the Brother Grimm’s fairy tale of the same name asked the big bad wolf: “But Grandmother, what big eyes you have,” the wolf replied: “The better to see you with, my dear”. But there was no suggestion that the wolf had horny eyes. And wolves in Malaysia (if there ever had been any) also would not have them. However amongst the many truly weird looking insects that occur in Malaysia there are the “Stalk-eyed Flies” and these flies, as their name suggests, do possess eyes at the end of surprisingly long stalks which project laterally from their heads like the horns of a Watusi cow. —>