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Giant black sea bass, Stereolepis gigas

Giant black sea bass, Stereolepis gigas
Giant (black) sea bass (Stereolepis gigas) surprise me every time I see
them. Something about them seems so improbable. They look more or less like any
number of reef fish, but they're monstrously large, several-fold the size of the
photographer. Not that I haven't seen large animals underwater. I've had an
extended encouinter with a gray whale and one with a whale shark. However, one
expects animals of this nature to be massive. A bass on the other hand, well, I
guess my mind just expects a bass to be something quite modest. At around 400
lbs, this is the largest sea bass I've encountered. I believe this to be a
female about to spawn. Certainly, she was quite popular among other sea bass in
the area. I find it hard to look at the virtual metropolis of parasites running
around on the heads of sea bass without feeling a little pity or the urge to
grab hold of the bass and dislodge the freeloading passengers. I'm pretty sure
that an attempt to perform such an altruistic act would be misinterpreted.

    "Italian Gardens", Santa Catalina Island, California
    July 1, 2006

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