How to Snog a Hagfish! explores the most bizarre, the most disgusting and the most fascinating creatures that inhabit the oceans.
When attacked, the hagfish (also known as the slime eel) ties itself in a knot that travels the length of its body, squeezing out mucus by the bucketful and making it impossible for a predator to keep hold. To eat, a starfish regurgitates its stomach, digests its food then swallows its stomach back down again. Pearlfish stick close to sea cucumbers, whose bowels they swim into when danger's near. And with shark attacks and jellyfish encounters, the oceans take on another level of repulsiveness when man dips his toes in the water.
We know more about the surface of the moon than we do the underwater world, but some of the species covered in this book are beyond even the imagination of science fiction writers. Entertaining yet informative, the idea of this book is not to wallow in grossness with the intention of putting people off their dinner, but to explore just how fascinating and 'alien' our own planet can be.
Highly illustrated, and with stories and anecdotes that help bring a human perspective, this book demystifies the natural world beneath the waves, and shows how it's not quite so shocking when you understand why these creatures have developed the way they have.
Jonathan Eyers has been fascinated by sea life since he saw Jaws at far too young an age. Unfortunately, whilst writing this book he discovered his tolerance for disgusting things is probably higher than most people's. He is the author of Don't Shoot the Albatross: Nautical Myths and Superstitions and Final Voyage: The World's Worst Maritime Disasters, both published by Adlard Coles Nautical, and the children's novel The Thieves of Pudding Lane (Bloomsbury).
Chapter 1 - Looks Aren't Everything From the blobfish (the `ugliest' creature on the planet) to the barreleye (which has a transparent head), many of the most unique-looking animals live in the sea. Chapter 2 - Disgusting Diets From sharks that swallow reindeers to eels that eat their prey from the inside out, plus how starfishes regurgitate their stomach into clam shells. Chapter 3 - Disgusting Defences From octopus ink to the world's most toxic venom, as well as the hagfish, which ties itself in a knot to squeeze slime out of its skin. Chapter 4 - Disgusting Habits From the tongue-eating louse (which needs no introduction) to the phronima, which burrows a hollow out of its prey and then lays its eggs inside. Chapter 5 - Monsters of the Deep From jellyfish with tentacles as long as a train carriage to crabs that grow to 4m across, as well as rays that swim in swarms of thousands. Chapter 6 - Shark Alert! With a `sixth sense' allowing them to detect potential prey and a snout powerful enough to smell a single drop of blood in the water from half a km away, sharks inspire awe as well as terror. Features the true story behind Jaws. Chapter 7 - The Best of the Rest of the Worst From forests of `killer' seaweed to so-called sea snot, as well as the Portuguese man-of-war (which is actually a small colony of four different creatures).