Today’s eel: Stemonidium hypomelas is one of a handful of so-called "sawtooth eels." But the thing that sets Stemonidium hypomelas apart from the rest of the sawtooth family is, in science talk, "reduced dentition." In other words, Stemonidium hypomelas can be distinguished from other sawtooths because it has less sawtoothy teeth. It looks a bit more like a snipe eel, which we've talked about on this newsletter before.
Speaking of which, you're getting this newsletter through a new interface now. If all went according to plan, you got an email from me about leaving Substack, and now you're getting this email from me from Buttondown, another newsletter service. Unlike Stemonidium hypomelas this version of the newsletter will have no less dentition than its predecessors.
Stemonidium hypomelas is mostly a deep sea species, found in the South Atlantic and Pacific about 500-1000 meters down. And frankly, there's not that much I could find about these wriggly buddies. They're not important for fisheries, nor are they used in aquariums, which means the two main places I go for information about our eel friends have nothing to say about them. The main reference that one of the big fish science sites has for this eel, is literally "Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic." Just a checklist! Doesn't even get its own paper! Sad. The main paper I could even find that addresses Stemonidium hypomelas specifically is from 1984. And even that paper mostly defines our poor Stemonidium hypomelas by what it doesn't have, saying that it "lacks any type of attractive "lure" similar to those found in most stomiatoid predators." Basically, other stomiatoids eat bigger prey like fish, because they can lure them in with little snout lures. But the Stemonidium hypomelas doesn't have that, so it eats crustaceans and smaller prey.
The only non-drawing image I could find of Stemonidium hypomelas is this one, which pretty accurately sums up how a lot of us felt at the end of 2020 (and maybe even now).
Compare that with the amazing images of Stemonidium hypomelas's close relative, Serrivomer beanii or Bean's sawtooth eel. Look at this beautiful coloration!
I demand biological justice for Stemonidium hypomelas who I'm sure has some cool traits of its own, if we just gave it a chance!
It's 2021! It's spring, and I'm writing this from my backyard. Lots of exciting stuff is happening which is why I haven't had time to write you one of these newsletters recently. The big thing is that THE FLASH FORWARD BOOK COMES OUT IN A MONTH!
For a while now people have been asking me how I feel about the book coming out, and my honest answer has been "it doesn't really feel real?" I filed the book mid-last year. It's been a totally digital thing for this whole time. But then on Friday, my books actually arrived! And I can hold them!
I'm really proud of this book, and I really hope you check it out. It features twelve different original comics by an amazing set of artists. You can still pre-order it, and if you do that I'll be so grateful. (Get it from your local bookstore please!) Pre-orders are really important for authors, and in particular new authors like me. And not only will you get the book when you pre-order (duh) you can ALSO get these incredible stickers. Just go HERE and put in your proof of book purchase and you'll be signed up to get the stickers!
We're going to be doing BOOK EVENTS soon too! I'll send around official dates and times when I have them, but Matt, Sophie and I are going to be doing a couple of online events that you can check out.
Flash Forward comes back on Tuesday of this week! We're starting the season off with a very Flash Forwardy take on something, which ranges from weird historical poisonings, through the future of addiction, all the way to CRISPRing new organs.
🔮 I spoke recently at the Feminist and Accessible Publishing and Communications Technologies series, and they have an incredible lineup and catalogue. I'm not sure when my talk will be online to watch (if ever) but if that happens I'll share a link to it.
🌿 I have learned how to keep plants alive!
🎧 I have a big podcast project coming out in a few months that’s all about something that seems simple, but isn’t. Once I can tell you more, I certainly will!
Hope you’re all doing well, getting vaccinated (I’m jealous!) and staying healthy & safe. May 2021 only get better from here.