Friday, November 14, 2008

Males, mer-men, and wedding tackle

I seldom mention my internet radio shows, but this week I did two and
they can be found on

The Sunday evening specials are in celebration of a theme related to animals and conservation. And Romance. Sometimes it is a bit of a stretch to link a popular topic in Romance with the endangered species act, and sometimes my colleagues rise to the challenge.

The "Crazy Tuesdays" can be anything related to romance and writing, and are very much off the cuff.... so much so that they are not necessarily even on the first Tuesday of every month.

Last Sunday evening (November 9th at 9pm), my guests were Joey W Hill, Judi Fennell (visit her site and try to win one of three holidays), Sandy Lender, and Jo Webnar. Grammarians, please note the Oxford --or Harvard-- comma. Sandy and Jo are not a writing team.

We were talking about manatees and mermaids and how sailors could possibly have mistaken manatees for cuddly mermaids blowing kisses. Jo Webnar lives on a boat in Florida. We all visited her website on the air, and looked at her own photographs of her boat, her dogs, her local dolphin, and the manatees that come to visit, especially when Jo is hosing down the boat with clean water. They love clean water fresh from a garden hose.

Excerpts were read. I have no idea how someone came to ask Judi about the sexual logistics of being a mer-man with a tail. (It was probably me!) However, Judi mentioned that the correct name for a fish's wedding tackle is a gonopodium.

Who knew? Since a mer-man would be an aquatic mammal, I am not sure why it would need a modified anal fin. Whales and dolphins (etc) don't need a special name
for it.

However, I googled gonopodium, and much to my delight, I found that it was indeed a very impressive adaptation for targeting what needs to be targeted. Researchers had done the inevitable research, and it seems that female fish are intrigued by--and attracted to-- a male with a very large gonopodium. So, the males have adapted, everywhere except those that live in a geographic location rich in predators.

Next time I go to a doctor's office, I'm going to watch the goldfish more carefully. I'd always assumed that what I've occasionally seen trailing behind a fish was a partly eliminated streamer of the previous day's lunch.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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