Learning marine biology from a textbook is one thing. But take readers to the bottom of the sea in a submarine to discover living fossils or to coral reefs to observe a day in the life of an octopus, and the sea and its splendors come into focus, in brilliant colors and with immediacy. In Sensuous Seas, Eugene Kaplan offers readers an irresistibly irreverent voyage to the world of sea creatures, with a look at their habitats, their beauty and, yes, even their sex lives. A marine biologist who has built fish farms in Africa and established a marine laboratory in Jamaica, Kaplan takes us to oceans across the world to experience the lives of their inhabitants, from the horribly grotesque to the exquisitely beautiful. In chapters with titles such as "Fiddler on the Root" (reproductive rituals of fiddler crabs) and "Size Does Count" (why barnacles have the largest penis, comparatively, in the animal kingdom), Kaplan ventures inside coral reefs to study mating parrotfish; dives 740 feet in a submarine to find living fossils; explains what results from swallowing a piece of living octopus tentacle; and describes a shark attack on a friend.
The book is a sensuous blend of sparkling prose and 150 beautiful illustrations that clarify the science. Each chapter opens with an exciting personal anecdote that leads into the scientific exploration of a distinct inhabitant of the sea world--allowing the reader to experience firsthand the incredible complexity of sea life. A one-of-a-kind memoir that unfolds in remarkable reaches of ocean few of us can ever visit for ourselves, Sensuous Seas brings the underwater world back to living room and classroom alike. Readers will be surprised at how much marine biology they have learned while being amused.
Eugene H. Kaplan is Axinn Distinguished Professor of Conservation and Ecology at Hofstra University. A recipient of the Herman Melville award for writing on marine subjects, he is the author of nine books, including "Problem Solving in Biology" and two Peterson Field Guides, one on coral reefs of the Caribbean and the other on seashores of the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean.
Preface: What Is a Marine Biologist? vii Acknowledgments ix Apologia xi Prologue: The Perils of Teaching 1 Chapter 1. Deadly Darts 3 Chapter 2. The Great Jade Green Octopus Hunt 9 Chapter 3. Bedtime Stories 20 Chapter 4. Garden of Eden: The Death Apple and the Tree of Life 29 Chapter 5. A True Romance Story 36 Chapter 6. Elixir of Love 46 Chapter 7. Skinny South Sea Sausages 52 Chapter 8. The Only Male Reproductive Organ with a Name 59 Chapter 9. Living Lance 66 Chapter 10. Role Reversal 74 Chapter 11. Super Male 83 Chapter 12. Miracle Fish 89 Chapter 13. Fugu 99 Chapter 14. Bunnies of the Sea 107 Chapter 15. Passion for Purple 116 Chapter 16. Size Does Count 122 Chapter 17. Fiddler on the Root 131 Chapter 18. Beware the Duppy 138 Chapter 19. The Secret of an Improved Sex Life 145 Chapter 20. How to Court a Female 152 Chapter 21. The Anti-BLB Club 159 Chapter 22. Sea Pussy 166 Chapter 23. Debunking the Big Lie 176 Chapter 24. A Peek into the Anus of a Sea Cucumber 183 Chapter 25. The Yellow Submarine 190 Chapter 26. The Perils of Vanity 200 Chapter 27. Sexually Repressed Victorian Taxonomists 206 Chapter 28. Random Ramblings on Relationships 214 Chapter 29. Penile Bloodletting 222 Chapter 30. Death and Confusion 232 Chapter 31. Eyeball to Eyeball 242 Epilogue 253 Glossary 257 Illustration Sources 264 Index 265