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Grey Whale (Eschrichtius robustus)

Gray whales have a hump and a ridge of sharp bumps along their backs, instead of a dorsal fin. Gray whales stay close to shore and feed in shallow water. Their well-known migrations take them between feeding and breeding areas, swimming as much as 12,000 miles round trip from the Arctic in the North Pacific, down to the Baja Coast in Mexico .Gray whales feed primarily on swarming mysids, tube-dwelling amphipods, and polychaete tube worms in the northern parts of their range, but are also known to take red carbs opportunistically or off the main feeding grounds.Commercial hunting of this species has ceased, but aboriginal subsistence whaling continues.

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From when humans first started hunting the oceans for food, sea snails have been a staple in our diet. The shells of sea snails have been used for decoration and jewellery for millennia, and is still as significant today. In ancient Aztec times, The Aztec moon-god, Tecceztecatl, had a snail shell on his back, the symbolization of rebirth. A verse from Psalms from the bible refers to the use of snail-slime as a metaphorica punishment. Even today, sea snails have become a symbol for laziness and slow movement, which in itself is ironic, as they truly have to work very hard to move.
Snails are easy to overlook, but the cultural significance and symbolism that snails represent, is actually a rich representation of our human heritage. And it all started in the sea.

Sidenote: The white spirals that appear on the shell, are called spiral worms. They live on the back of the snail, and filter feed through the water. Algae and Pink Coraline are also growing on this sea snail, which is a good method of estmating the age of these molluscs. Just another great example of how connected the ocean is.
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