photos by mattsmith from the Illawarra coast in new south wales of bluebottles, violet snails and blue dragons.
despite its resemblance to the jellyfish, the bluebottle is more closely related to coral. known as a zooid, the bluebottle (or portugese man of war) is a colonial animal composed of many highly specialized and physiologically integrated individual organisms incapable of independent survival.
the blue dragon — a type of nudibranch, here no larger than a thumbnail, with its own potent sting — is able to eat the nematocysts (stinging cells) of the bluebottle without discharging them and internally relocate them to the tips of each one of the fingers you can see in the pictures.
for their part, the violet snails also feed on the bluebottles.
notes matt, “despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle is an amazingly beautiful creature. with strong winds, hundreds of these cnidaria are blown into the bays around my home town and trapped overnight.”
this allows him to capture the above shots, which he creates with use of a fluorescent tube in his strobe light and a homemade waterproof lens dome.
- Origin: Celtic folklore, Breton folklore Description: The Henchman of Death.
Ankou is the name of the spirit who collects the souls of the dead. An Ankou comes about when the last person in a calendar year dies in a parish. Their job, for the next year, is to guide the dead souls away from their bodies. There is more than one Ankou, as there is one for every parish of Brittany.
Ankou is described as a tall, haggard or skeletal figure with flowing white hair. The Ankou’s head is able to turn at a 360 degree angle, to symbolise its ability to see everything, everywhere. It is also at times seen as a dark shadow, one that wears what looks like an old hat.
The Ankou is said to drive a ghostly cart, and to stop at the houses of those who are about to die. It will knock on the door or wail – and sometimes these are also heard by the living. It will then lead the dead to the cart, and drive away.
There is no stopping Ankou. Death comes to us all.
Written by Nic Hume of APPI - Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators Put together by Ashley Hall