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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/685

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ANIMAL LIFE IN THE GULF STREAM.

they seek safety in the air, and, after darting as far as possible, will strike the water again and then dash off in another direction. They present a very odd appearance, skipping out of the water and passing through the air by means of their wing-like fins, and then again disappearing. While trying to escape their finny enemies they often fly right into the claws of an albatross or some other large sea-bird, jumping, so to speak, "from the frying-pan into the fire" A hard lot is theirs in this struggle for existence, eating smaller animals only to be themselves eaten. The panic which a shark will cause in a school of mackerel or menhaden, or a dolphin among flying-fish, can hardly be described. Another curious fish that we sometimes meet with is the Hippocampus, or sea-horse. These little creatures are most interesting to watch in an aquarium. They curl their tails about any object which will hold them in place, and then assume an upright position. With their peculiarly shaped head and large, intelligent eyes, an almost perfect miniature resemblance to a horse is plainly seen. There

PSM V35 D685 A sea horse and goose barnacles on a bottle.jpg
Fig. 10.—Sea-Horse (Hippocampus brevirostris). Fig. 11.—Goose Barnacles on a Bottle.

it sits motionless, rolling its prominent eyes backward and forward until a small animal comes too near, when a sudden dive is made, which generally ends fatally to the intended prey, and then the same grave indifference is assumed. Altogether it reminds me of a toad watching for its food.

Floating around on all sides are numerous patches of gulf-weed filled with life of all kinds. Here good-sized crabs and shrimps flee for refuge from larger foes, and feed upon their more minute brethren also seeking safety under the floating weed. Here the goose barnacle is found in great numbers attached to everything that floats. This is the animal which is such an enemy to shipmasters sailing from tropical ports. Although the vessel's