Fashion Trends from the World of Nature: Nose Eels!

#1
All the young-and-restless Hawaiian monk seals are doing it. Getting dead eels stuck up their noses.

https://www.boston.com/news/animals/2018...eels-noses

It's only been happening recently, and nobody knows why. The seals don't have hands and feed by sticking their faces into crevices where eels and other animals (fish, octopuses) are hiding. One theory is that if a seal's face fills the exit from a little cave, an eel might try to escape through the only hole that isn't a mouth. But scientists say that one is unlikely, since the seals' noses close tightly with strong muscles when they are underwater and it would be hard for an eel to force its way in. Besides, if this is the explanation, why hasn't anyone seen it before now?

The fear is that having a dead eel up their noses might cause infections as the eels start to rot. But so far, whenever humans have pulled out the eels (sometimes it's hard) the seals have seemed ok.

Just judging from this seal's smug and satisfied expression, it's seemingly very proud of its eel.


[Image: 4e4d39cc-fa1f-11e8-8c9a-860ce2a8148f-850x478%24large.jpg]
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#2
I saw that and I was wondering if there could possibly be some unknown mutualistic relationship where both parties benefit.
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#3
I wonder if an eel hanging from your nose is a physical attractant to other seals or a sign of strength, power, etc. Perhaps they deliberately seek to be nasally adorned. Do we know if the seals with eel attachments were male or female?
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#4
(Dec 8, 2018 03:33 AM)Yazata Wrote: Just judging from this seal's smug and satisfied expression, it's seemingly very proud of its eel.


SEAL: "Ops attendant!"

EQUIPMENT TECHIE: "Yes?"

SEAL: "There's an eel in my nose."

EQUIPMENT TECHIE: "Well don't talk too loud, everybody else on this mission will want one!"

~
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#5
(Dec 8, 2018 09:18 PM)C C Wrote:
(Dec 8, 2018 03:33 AM)Yazata Wrote: Just judging from this seal's smug and satisfied expression, it's seemingly very proud of its eel.


SEAL: "Ops attendant!"

EQUIPMENT TECHIE: "Yes?"

SEAL: "There's an eel in my nose."

EQUIPMENT TECHIE: "Well don't talk too loud, everybody else on this mission will want one!"

~

I would think it's impossible to pick one's nose with a flipper. I know there are fish like the Cleaner Wrasse for parasites so why not a Parasite Snot Eel for that hard to reach nasal cavity? Except occasionally one goes too far. Maybe seals & eels are developing some sort of symbiotic relationship.
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#6
(Dec 9, 2018 03:30 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote:
(Dec 8, 2018 09:18 PM)C C Wrote:
(Dec 8, 2018 03:33 AM)Yazata Wrote: Just judging from this seal's smug and satisfied expression, it's seemingly very proud of its eel.


SEAL: "Ops attendant!"

EQUIPMENT TECHIE: "Yes?"

SEAL: "There's an eel in my nose."

EQUIPMENT TECHIE: "Well don't talk too loud, everybody else on this mission will want one!"

I would think it's impossible to pick one's nose with a flipper. I know there are fish like the Cleaner Wrasse for parasites so why not a Parasite Snot Eel for that hard to reach nasal cavity? Except occasionally one goes too far. Maybe seals & eels are developing some sort of symbiotic relationship.


Yah, I've got no idea how afflicted non-Navy seals are with big boogers or other mucous accretions. (Has zoological scientific research been negligent in that department?)

Non-human animals did first introduce both tools and ornamentation. Back to the subforum category, I guess it could literally be just an adornment and trending fashion statement occurring in this particular aquatic mammal tribe.

biological ornament
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_ornament

~
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#7
It's possible that the seal outputs fish residue (from what they've eaten) through their nostrils and the eel can smell dying or dead fish in the water and tries to dart up their nostril to chase after it. but who "nose"? (yeah... they get worse)
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#8
From National Geographic: • Hawaiian monk seals sneeze a lot thanks to nose mites

Hard to sneeze with an eel up your nose and maybe less irritating or it's serving a purpose even if only for temporary relief. Will need to brush up on pinniped nose mites but I did read somewhere that they occupy a seal's nasal passages as well into its sinus cavity. 
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#9
Z. Wrote:Maybe seals & eels are developing some sort of symbiotic relationship.
I just wish I'd noticed it myself.
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