Here’s to adorable Gina

… Friend of the skate and the cod

The Gina is a Zwicky, and adorable is a self-description. On her Twitter account:


(I believe Gina is my first Zwicky of the Sea.)

(On the title, my apologies to Boston and the bean.)

I see no record of Gina before 2013, but then:

— at Tulane Univ. in New Orleans, 2013-17, earning a bachelor’s in environmental biology with a minor in marine biology

— 2017-19, work as a fisheries observer for Alaskan Observers in Coos Bay OR

— she’s also worked with large hoofed mammals (it’s not all fish)

— she’s now a grad student “working on parasite-mediated selection in reptiles”

About her Twitter handle, from NOAD:

noun elasmobranchZoology a cartilaginous fish of a group that comprises the sharks, rays, and skates. … Subclass Elasmobranchii, class Chondrichthyes. ORIGIN late 19th century: from modern Latin Elasmobranchii (plural), from Greek elasmos ‘beaten metal’ + brankhia ‘gills’.

So much for the skate. Then the cod:

(#2) From Gina: “Some lingcod from a specific area in the Pacific Northwest have bright blue flesh, all the way down to the fillets. Other fish species in the same habitat occasionally turn up blue — and although it may be linked to bile pigments, biologists don’t really know why!”

Beyond fish, but still in the sea:

(#3) From Gina: “The phenomenon of deep-sea gigantism has granted us a friend and boy! This giant marine isopod is real, eats dead whales, and needs zero improvement.”

On the larger taxon, from Wikipedia:

Isopoda is an order of crustaceans that includes woodlice and their relatives. Isopods live in the sea, in fresh water, or on land. All have rigid, segmented exoskeletons, two pairs of antennae, seven pairs of jointed limbs on the thorax, and five pairs of branching appendages on the abdomen that are used in respiration.

Then on the giant creatures, also from Wikipedia:

A giant isopod is any of the almost 20 species of large isopods … in the genus Bathynomus. They are abundant in the cold, deep waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Bathynomus giganteus, the species upon which the generitype is based, is often considered the largest isopod in the world … The giant isopods are noted for their resemblance to the much smaller common woodlouse (pill bug), to which they are related.

Woodlice / pill bugs are also known as roly-polies. From my 5/5/15 posting “Roly(-)Polies”, this illustration of a woodlouse on the prowl:

(#4) The creatures are about half an inch long when they’re stretched out; when threatened, they can roll into a little ball, like an armadillo


4 Responses to “Here’s to adorable Gina”

  1. Sim Aberson Says:

    There seems to be a Fred Zwicky associated with NOAA, maybe as a photographer:

    This is apparently Gina Zwicky’s hand full of sea stars:

  2. Eric Zwicky Says:

    Gina is my daughter. She did her undergraduate at Tulane and is now getting her Masters (and teaching also) at University of New-Orleans. My wife and I are very proud of her. It was apparent from the time she could toddle around the yard, turning over bricks to hunt pillbugs, telling people she was an “amateur entomologist”, and beginning a life-long love affair with snakes, that she would do something nature-related. We can’t wait to see what she gets up to next.

    Fred is my cousin, he lives near Peoria IL. His dad and my dad were brothers from Oshkosh WI.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Many thanks. Nice to have people connected. (I have a Fred Zwicky in my branch of the family — an uncle, one of my father’s (older) brothers, now long gone, of course.)

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