Poseidon's Steed

by Helen Scales Ph.D. | Outdoors & Nature |
ISBN: 159240474X Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingAzukiwing of Miami, Florida USA on 2/8/2018
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This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingAzukiwing from Miami, Florida USA on Thursday, February 08, 2018
My fascination of seahorses and especially sea dragons began during a visit to the Florida Aquarium. The sea dragon looks all decked out like a drag queen, while also reminding me of the mythical dragon flying across the sky.

This book does not disappointed; it is filled with intriguing facts about seahorses. It has a lot of other related topics, on traditional Chinese medicine, fishing methods etc, that some may consider it "padding the book," though I find it interesting and do not mind at all. It is sad that human continues to ignore the health of the ecology, and to fish using unsustainable methods. I would hate to see such magical creatures disappear.

Journal Entry 2 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Tuesday, November 06, 2018
This book is now going into the animal bookbox.

Journal Entry 3 by wingSpatialwing at Arlington, Virginia USA on Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Chosen from the Animals Bookbox.

Seems like a fascinating book all about a unique creature of the sea!

Journal Entry 4 by wingSpatialwing at Arlington, Virginia USA on Tuesday, January 08, 2019
Poseidon’s Steed is a short, interesting read. I sold myself on this book that it would be more ‘sciency’. The author, after all, is a marine biologist and so I thought it would have a more in-depth look at the biology and evolution of the seahorse. And so I wanted to give the book a lower rating since it didn’t live up to what I thought it was about.

But, the book, like its subtitle says, is about The Story of Seahorses, From Myth to Reality. Dr. Helen Scales is passionate about marine biology and, in particular, seahorses, and it comes across in her writing and knowledge.

Her tangents on mythology and herbal medicines are fascinating to read but I would rather have had a more detailed description of the life and anatomy of seahorses and their relatives, the pipefish and sea dragons. The prelude too was confusing. It was less about seahorses and more about the diving history of the author as she, for many years, kept an eye out for her first sighting of a wild seahorse. It was an interesting side story but that’s about it.

Then, too, there were her disappointing notes referencing Wikipedia. I don’t mind Wikipedia being referenced in a review of a book but in a book by a PH.D.? No. There are around seven references to information she gleaned from Wikipedia. :/ Sorry, but that is unacceptable. She should have taken the time to dive a little deeper and find a better source. Seven is not that many to take the short amount of time to research. I understand it’s not in the bibliography but is in the notes (footnotes)…still should have pointed to a better reference. It makes her look amateurish and less trustworthy.

Journal Entry 5 by wingSpatialwing at Science & Technology Bookbox, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases on Friday, June 21, 2019

Released 5 mos ago (6/21/2019 UTC) at Science & Technology Bookbox, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases


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One of the starting books for the Science & Technology Bookbox!

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Journal Entry 6 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, July 07, 2019
I'm claiming this handsome book from the Science and Technology bookbox. (I've already read it, but I have a great release location in mind for this copy!)

I've seldom given much thought to seahorses, other than thinking how cute they look, and this book taught me a lot. Among other things, they're classified as fish despite looking so very un-fish-like!

I knew about their unusual reproductive habits - they're the only known creatures where the male gestates the young - but hadn't known how that worked. Turns out the female "injects" her eggs into his breeding-cavity, through a cloud of the male's sperm. Very offbeat mechanics involved there {wry grin}. [Side note: there are plenty of species in which the males help tend their young, including frogs that carry around the tiny newborns in their mouths, but with seahorses the males carry the young from the egg-and-sperm stage on.]

The book touches on many appearances of seahorses in art and writings through the ages, with some intriguing notes about seahorses as possible inspiration for some of the earliest-known aboriginal art in Australia.

As with most sea-dwelling creatures these days (as well as far too many land-dwelling ones), seahorses are under pressure from environmental damage, climate change, and over-fishing: they are sought-after for use in traditional Chinese medicine, among other things.

I liked the many examples of seahorse-themed art, some included in the photo section and others simply written about. The Pictish intertwined-seahorses from an old Scottish carving are my favorite, with the "horse" part looking like land-based horses, hooves and all, but with distinct fish-like tails. (I was amused to find that this is what inspired the use of the term "hippocampus" for a part of the brain that - rather vaguely - resembles a seahorse!)

Amusing note: some varieties of seahorses are called "sea dragons", something that inspired a cute aspect of the Fruits Basket manga: in a family where people are born with close associations to signs of the zodiac - and, thanks to a curse, transform into their animal shapes when touched. One guy is the "Dragon," leading to some concern as to what would happen when *he* transformed - but instead of becoming a huge, fire-breathing dragon, he changed into a tiny seadragon!

Interesting book about a small-but-fascinating creature!

Released 4 mos ago (7/20/2019 UTC) at Rose Kennedy Greenway (see notes for details) in Boston, Massachusetts USA


I plan to leave this book at or near the charming Greenway Carousel (which is also near the Boston Aquarium) on this very warm day; hope someone enjoys it! See the Rose Kennedy Greenway web site for more about the attractions in the area, including photos of the New England-themed creatures that inspired the carousel rides.

[See other recent releases in MA here.]

*** Released for the 2019 Keep Them Moving release challenge. ***

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