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California killifish have it rough. The picture of the isopods that were as big as their host’s brain came from the killies and that is only one of many parasites which plague them regularly. Here is another!

A few months ago I was doing some killifish research and found a dead killie in the tank. I’m really concerned with the health of my animals because, 1) I appreciate the sacrifice they’re making for my research, 2) I got into this field originally because I’m a big animal lover, and 3) (most importantly) unhealthy fish yield less accurate data (unless you’re studying disease). I noticed that another fish in the tank had a milky white patch on its skin and was looking lethargic. I popped the fish under the microscope briefly and took this photo:

The infected area is the milky white patch on the left and you can see healthy scales on the right. The two neon green lines are an elastomer compound that I injected underneath their skin so I could keep track of individuals throughout my experiments. Neat, huh?

I removed some scales and identified the culprit, CILIATES! Here is a video that I took at 400X. You can see the little buggers picking food off of the fish scales:

Ciliates have a feeding stage (called trophozoites) and a cyst stage, and these are the trophozoites. Ciliates have a macronucleus and a micronucleus, and you can kind of see what looks like a big sac and smaller sac in some of the ciliates in the video.

Other common ciliate parasites include ich, which infects fish, and Balantidium coli. B. coli is an intestinal parasite of pigs, but can infect humans (who have “balantidiasis”). Ciliates are not all bad though. In fact some are gut mutualists, aiding in digestion.

This story ends well. A quick dosing with ectoparasite medication knocked out the infection and the killies recovered quickly. Interestingly, those isopods were also on the killies when I dumped in the antiparasite meds, and they were apparently unfazed by the treatment. They’re somewhat internal to the fish (being underneath the operculum and living on the gills), but still would have been subjected to the medication in the water as it passed over the gills. Hardy little guys.

207 Responses to “Ciliates!”

  1. Human spambot

    Happy birthday, nerd!

  2. William Foster

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  3. JustAGuy

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  4. nonchalant reader

    I actually go to smbc primarily for links to this blog because my bookmarks are broken

    • weinersmith

      Awesome!

      • james

        Dictionary.com:

        faze [feyz]–verb (used with object), fazed, faz·ing.
        to cause to be disturbed or disconcerted; daunt:
        The worst insults cannot faze him.

        phase [feyz]
        noun, verb, phased, phas·ing.
        –verb (used with object)
        9.
        to schedule or order so as to be available when or as needed.
        10.
        to put in phase; synchronize: to phase one mechanism with another.

  5. Random mensch

    Happy birthday, Nerd!

  6. Sack o' meat

    Happy birthday, nerd!

  7. m9dhatter

    Happy birthday, nerd!

  8. Mariana

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

    Live long and prosper.

  9. caio1982

    I’ll skip the obvious happy-birthday-nerd thing and just *deeply* thank you for giving US the gift today. I simply can’t stop reading your blog, that’s real science made popular and fun!

    • weinersmith

      Thanks!!! I’m glad you enjoy it. 🙂

  10. Mark

    Happy Birthday, Nerd!

  11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

    THIS GUY

  12. TakuanDaikon

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD 🙂

  13. M

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

    Though actually. Your blog is extremely cool.

  14. Adrian

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  15. Stewart Paterson

    Happy Birthday Nerd!
    from chilly France

  16. Thomas

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  17. CJ

    Happy birthday future Dr. Weinersmith.

    Biology nerds with dick jokes in their names are the best.

  18. Ryan

    I’ve really enjoyed your blog, despite not being a bio-nerd myself (I’m a computer- and physics-nerd). Keep up the great work!

    Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  19. Runil123

    Happy Birthday! ~`~“<|:) Have an unbelievably awesome Birthday! And sorry for teh delay: it's already 'tomorrow' in my place 🙁

  20. A Different Ryan

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  21. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD

    happy birthday :o)

  22. Diogo Almeida

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  23. ThickNavyRain

    How interesting!
    Amazing that they managed to survive like that.
    Perhaps the anti-parasitic treatment isn’t effective universally.
    Possibly they were reinfected after the treatment.
    Your blog is totally cool by the way!

    Brilliant topics, and I’ve never even been much of a biology nerd.
    I might not understand it all, but it’s cool!
    Really good way of getting into biology anyway,
    The writing is pretty thorough, but still accessible
    How do the meds properly permeate through the water though?
    Do they just dissolve and mix in with it and the fish consume it?
    Anyway, I’m glad it’s all resolved now.
    You’d better take care of those fish…for science!

    Not much more to add.
    Excellent stuff,
    Really should sign you up to my RSS,
    Don’t stop writing these!

    • weinersmith

      The parasite treatment was just meant for ectoparasites, so it wasn’t universal. I was still surprised that they seemed unphased by it.

      They were not reinfected after treatment b/c they were in a sterile lab, so there was no way for new isopods to infect them.

      The meds are water-based, and the filter in the tank mixes the water so it probably did permeate throughout.

      Thanks for reading and for the questions! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • ThickNavyRain

        Did you happen to find the secret message embedded there?

        • Timothy

          well done.

        • Ter!

          That rocked.

  24. Daniel

    I too would like to take the time to say

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD!

  25. R

    You’re a NERD!!!!! (oh yeah… Happy Birthday.)

  26. Gabi

    Happy Birthday, |\| 3 |2 |)

  27. Jake

    Happy Birthday, NERD!

    Cool blog, I’m going to start reading it.

  28. Liese

    So I originally came here to say, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD”, but then I actually read some of your posts. Then I read all of your posts. Then I realized that you’re my new hero.

    • weinersmith

      YES!

  29. Matt

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

    But seriously, this blog is pretty addictive. I wasn’t really expecting that when I followed the link.

  30. John

    Happy birthday nerd!

    I don’t believe in full caps messages >_<

  31. PeterCoffey

    Happy Birthday, also I do research with blue crab disease and we’ve had ciliates muck up several experiments; glad yours was an easy fix!

    • weinersmith

      Sorry to hear about your ciliate problem, but it’s totally cool that you study blue crab disease! Not so cool for the crabs though…

      • PeterCoffey

        No, it’s cool they love being injected with dinoflagellates. They love it so much they can’t contain their love and die. They’re really good at dying.

        • weinersmith

          🙂 I’ve had animals who were really good at that too. Ah, animal research.

  32. RFranklin

    Protozoan parasites = gross + cool

    Happy Birthday!

  33. Rawen

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

    From a french nerd o/.

  34. Kriti

    Happy birthday ! I love SMBC, and I now get the feeling I might start loving your blog too …

  35. Miguel

    Happy Birthday, nerd!

  36. Walla

    Happy Birthday…Nerd!

    Although I must say, your blog looks pretty interesting, I’m gonna check it out and read a bit more.

  37. ScienceFan

    Happy Birthday, Nerd!

    Love the sciencey goodness of your blog!

  38. Harris

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  39. Alec Baldfail

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  40. Diane

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD !
    From chilly and stormy France !
    And thanks for all the science.

  41. Monkey Told, Monkey Do

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  42. Kurt

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  43. A fellow

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  44. Will

    When I first followed the SMBC link to your blog, I thought I died and went to heaven. I have this strange weakness for parasites, especially parasites with freaky mind control powers. I have an irresistible urge to talk about mind control parasites at dinner parties.

    Anyway, from one nerd to another, Happy Birthday, nerd!!

  45. guest

    happy birthday

    and i’m surprised by the interesting content of your blog

    maybe i should follow zachs links more often…

  46. HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD

    internet handle

  47. Matt

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  48. another bio nerd

    Happy birthday!

    Glad to hear you solved your parasite problem. I was volunteering in a killifish lab that had a major problem with fungus infections. Although the symptoms (white spot on the tail) looked fairly similar to your ciliates above, our infection spread badly and the fishes’ tails would rot off. I’m not sure why we didn’t just medicate the fish. Presumably the people in charge were studying something that the medication would have interferred with. I was just a first year undergrad, so my job was to find the affected fish and humanely kill them as soon as possible before they spread the infection to others. The glories of science, eh?

  49. Oscar

    Feliz cumpleaños nerd!

  50. Julius K

    Happy Birthday N-n-n….. NOUN!

    By the way, for what are you studying Californian killifish for? I gathered you’ve been looking at the developmental process at least and have caught parasitic activity. But is this to say that Californian killifish are highly known to acquire parasites? And if so, does this also mean that these fish are known to acquire a wide variety of different parasites?

    Perhaps you’re studying how parasites are introduced into a natural environment, or even a sterile one?

    • weinersmith

      I’ll be putting up a post sometime soon with more details about what I’m working on for my dissertation! Stay tuned! 🙂

  51. NDM

    Variation on a book cipher using this post:

    1 3, 2 1, 1 30, 2 87, 4 19, 1 14, 1 10, 2 10, 7 1, 6 24, 2 7, 2 4, 2 58, 3 23, 7 3, 7 18, 2 14

    1 17, 1 15, 4 13, 3 28, 2 2, 2 56, 3 46

    Hope you enjoy decoding it. 😛

  52. Efogoto

    Happy Birthday, Nerd! Another lap around the sun completed!

  53. GamerGeek

    I’m not sure whether you are going to painfully kill or thank your husband for all this, but I”m gonna do it anyway
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD!!!

  54. Dogboi

    Happy Birthday, Bio-Nerd

    From a literature Geek

    (and the post on behavior and disease transmission is really cool. Going go subscribe just for gems like that. As the young’uns say: wOOt!)

    • Dogboi

      Eer personality, not behavior. *sigh*. That’s what I get for typing comments right before nap time.

  55. Itamar

    Happy birthday, nerd!

    Regards from sunny Israel. (Damn, they promised us winter!)

    I think that now that I’m here I may actually read stuff 🙂
    May this year in your life be filled with awesome, cool, interesting things, and include lots of adventures.

  56. Micha

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  57. angela

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  58. tom

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  59. Zach

    Happy birthday, you nerd!

    And come back to the world of Theater/voteys! We’ve missed you! ='(

  60. Saba

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  61. John K

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD! 😀

  62. Joanne

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD

  63. Rajeev

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD 🙂

  64. Morris Keesan

    Like lots of others here, I came over from SMBC just to say “Happy Birthday”, but got distracted by reading the blog. I would disagree slightly with Zach, who calls you “totally-hot-but-that’s-just-incidental-the-main-thing-is-she’s-intelligent”; you’re totally hot BECAUSE you’re intelligent.

  65. Benn

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD

  66. genisage

    Happy birthday nerd. Have a great time and do many nerdy things on this day.

  67. Thomas

    Birthday happy nerd!

  68. Janiece

    Happy Birthday, Nerd!

  69. Jino Silver_flamE

    Erm… Yeah…
    I, too, got distracted reading your blog.
    I came from SMBC for some reason…
    ::checks::
    Oh, right! Happy b-day!
    I wish you all the best and to manage to publish your blog as a best-selling 100-issue book series!
    And don’t forget each book has to be at least 639 pages long.
    P.S.: Ecology is awesome. And so are it’s nerds.

  70. Human Flora

    Happy birthday, totally-hot-but-that’s-just-incidental-the-main-thing-is-she’s-intelligent! Glad to see you getting older, makes me feel younger every time!

    Hope there are no weird things growing in my brain, ’cause I have such big trouble naming things (which doesn’t relate directly to this post, but I wanted to contribute…)

    Taking time now to read your blog.

    Frosty greeting from Austria

  71. Quixim

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD

  72. Olax

    I wish Zach was my husband. No one ever wishes me a happy birthday.
    Anyway, happy birthday.

    Nerd.

  73. Ari

    Hosnap, today’s my birthday too!!!
    Wow this is pretty much the greatest of all coincidences.

    Happy birthday, from one nerd to another! 😀

  74. Sam J.

    Happy anniversary of the day you were forcibly evicted from your mother’s body. Your body is now one year closer to its inevitable demise and decay, your brain has lost one more year’s worth of neurons, and your mind bears the scars of another year of life.
    So, you know, have a nice day.

    …In short, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD. 😀

  75. D4rky

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  76. hey you

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY [hot] NERD

  77. neo

    happy birthday. this blog is way better than online comics…

  78. The Weiner commands me...

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  79. lazy

    Hb, n!

  80. RtVD

    Happy birthday nerd!

  81. Kyle

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  82. Lauren

    Happy birthday, nerd!
    Love,
    Lauren C
    (Thank Zach for the reminder since I am no longer on facebook, and have an awesomely nerdy day!)

  83. Ian

    Wow, I came over to say Happy Birthday Nerd, but this shit is rad!

    Thanks for making a science blog humanities majors like me can read!

  84. Leigh

    Happy birthday Kelly! You intelligent-and-not-surprisngly-beautiful lady, you! Zach is one lucky fellow to have you and your epic blog in his life. I checked.

  85. Jacob

    Birth nerd day?

  86. Monika

    I am here because Zach said so, but I found your blog is really cool!

    I leave this here for your birthday:

    Muss der kleine Killifisch auch zur Schule gehn?
    Schau in den Fluss hinein, dann siehst du es bestimmt,
    wie er so fröhlich mit den andern Fischen schwimmt.
    Das ist die Schule von dem kleinen Killifisch.

    Hat der kleine Killifisch eine Lehrerin?
    Stell dich ans Ufer und schau in den Fluss hinein.
    Einer der großen Fische muss der Lehrer sein.
    Ganz sicher weiß das nur der kleine Killifisch.

    Hat der kleine Killifisch Unterricht wie wir?
    Er lernt die Sprache andrer Fische zu verstehn,
    tauchen und steigen und sich blitzschnell umzudrehn.
    Das und noch vieles lernt der kleine Killifisch!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbBoEB22KD0

    Blatantly stolen from Gerhard Schöne

  87. Timothy

    Happy Birthday, well educated one.

  88. Dyslexic

    Happy nerdday, bird.

    Your blog needs more dick jokes. That aside, thumbs up.

  89. Fly

    Best wishes on your birthday all the way from Finland!

    Nerd!

  90. Amos

    This is the first time I’ve visited your blog, and I must say, you are quite the nerd. Happy Birthday!

  91. james

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD

  92. james

    and i guess i will read your blog since i’m here

  93. diego

    Happy Birthday,
    you person who is really intelligent but other people who are dumb and subestimate you, are jelous, try to mock you by calling you names……..i’ll go sleep and cry…

  94. Flobot

    Happy birthday bird.

  95. Mick

    Happy birthday Nerd!

  96. Em

    Happy Birthday, Nerd!

  97. Mr Z

    H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y … N E R D !

    Seriously, happy birthday

  98. Elaine

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD!

  99. Quick Links | A Blog Around The Clock

    […] Ciliates! […]

  100. Gabriela

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  101. Ryan

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD! 😀
    (P.S, great blog.)

  102. Erin E.

    Happy birthday, fellow nerd! I’m glad I found out about this blog. I’m a chemistry nerd, so this stuff is interesting despite being largely unfamiliar. I’m referring my biology nerd buddies here pronto!

  103. Nick

    It has been said that it is your birthday. And that you are also a nerd. Thus, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  104. lairo

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD!

  105. walkeraid

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  106. Rabid Penguin

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  107. Michael

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  108. Nicolai

    félicitations!

  109. Steven

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  110. Narrno

    Happy birthday, awesome nerd!
    (btw I am from Czech Republic… that means yes, Weinersmith family is famous all over the damn world, celebrate!)

  111. Ter!

    Happy birthday, Nerdy McNerdpants! Hope it went well!

  112. Will

    Happy Birthday.

    Also, after reading a few posts I now can’t stop scratching, and wondering if that pain in my cheek is an isopod. Guh. Thanks :/

  113. Thom

    NERD DAY HAPPY, BIRTH!

  114. Jason GL

    Hey, your blog is really cool! Definitely enjoying and/or being freaked out by it. Your research sounds worthwhile, and I hope you make it to your Research I nerdvana. Happy birthday from a polisci/law nerd. 🙂

  115. David

    Happy Birthday, Nerd! (Nice blog, too.)

  116. Jake

    Happy birthday!

    I have been checking this blog out occasionally for a few weeks, ever since your husband linked it on a previous occasion.

    I generally avoid checking it out right after a meal, however (particularly if I’ve just had sushi, although I’ve heard they’re required by law to flash freeze it at least). Interesting stuff, though.

  117. Tempest in a Teapot

    1. Happy birthday, nerd!

    2. As a bio major (I don’t consider myself a biologist even though I graduated a few years ago since I’ve never really worked in my field. Unless you count gutting fish for a sushi bar…) who went back to school to become a high school science teacher, I’ve fallen in love with your blog. Let me know if you have any free time for a stalker!

  118. Joshwah.

    Happy Birthday, one of superior intellect.

  119. Zeebo

    Look at these sheeple, all replying with ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!’ as they were told to do. Oh wait…did Zach say that? In that case.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  120. Jim

    Came for the birthday wish, stayed for the blog. Definitely adding it to my reader.

    Happy Birthday, Nerd!

  121. Kelso

    Happy birthday nerd!

  122. Eardil

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD!!!
    So long and thanks for all the fish XD

  123. sdrawkcaB

    .loS fo tibro htraE etelpmoc siht no slevel nihprodne retaerg uoy hsiw I ,eno evissesbo tub detacude-llew raeD

    .elbuod stnuoc ti snaem sdrawkcaB

  124. Will Culpepper

    HAPPY BIRFDAY, NERD!!!
    …that’s right, birfday.

  125. Aida

    You’re awesome!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  126. Emily

    Happy Birthday and Happy Mole day!!

  127. Alex

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! …nerd. Zach asked me to call you a nerd so I must do so. By now I’m sure you’re acquainted with his semi-sentient hoard of zombie-like followers so I’m sure you understand why, but in all seriousness he’s lucky to have you

  128. drewski

    I came here to say happy birthday, but that would be TRITE and OBVIOUS. So instead I’ll say INTERESTING STUFF and that I will Stay Tuned for more…TALES OF INTEREST.

  129. Lieutenant Commander Spock

    I wish you a pleasant earth-year based anniversary of the day you emerged from your mother’s vagina, individual who enjoys science beyond the culturally acceptable level; however, I must admit that I find your human holidays most illogical.

  130. Jomes

    Happy Birthday, Nerd!

  131. Confused and Culpable

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  132. Thomas

    The voices told me to come here. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  133. Erich

    Happy birthday!
    You and Zach are awesome!
    Science rulz!

  134. Nikki!

    Happy Birthday, Nerd!

    I’m a computer nerd, and I never felt any affection towards biology. So I think it’s weird that your blog posts don’t *feel* like biology to me — I can actually read entire paragraphs without subconsciously looking away! XD

    I hope you do SMBC Theater skits more often! 🙂

  135. Splurgy

    I only read two blogs, and this is one of them – you’re routinely fascinating.
    Happy Birthday!

  136. Celebrian

    Ciliates are cool! Also…

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  137. Kevin

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  138. AmosHarper

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

  139. I don't even-

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

    But in all seriousness, this blog is awesome.

  140. amanda

    Happy birthday! May it be full of cupcakes with sprinkles and confetti that other people have to clean up.

  141. Cyndy

    Happy birthday, hot nerd!

  142. Takub

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  143. SkaMan

    First, awesome blog. I Thought scale infections were fatal in fish. Second, happy birthday nerd.

  144. Girby

    Happy Nerd, Birthday!

  145. Sean

    Do the evil brain-shrimp or the ick come closer the activity/productivity impairment level of Felicem natalis var. diem?

    Cool blog. I echos come curiosity I have about the exchange of genetic material between hosts and parasites, as inspired by the relationship of Taxus spp and some of the fungi that occasionally uses them as hosts, and my grandfather’s research on root parasites of the Australian desert.

    Ad multos annos! (And may the parasite data never be first-hand.)

    • Sean

      “t”

      (Recently found cowering in the back of a tea shop, trying to blend in. Believed to have been intended for the second position of the second sentence of a second paragraph. Apparently afraid of being considered second-rate.)

  146. randomdogfood

    Happy one year closer to death day!

  147. Caio

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  148. gibran

    Feliz cumpleaños nerd!

  149. Dayv

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

    Also, parasites are awesome until reading about them convinces me I have some.

  150. Orion

    Happy Birthday, Nerd! :D:D:D

  151. Moshbear

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD.

    But seriously, this blog has made biology interesting, where previously all I cared about was the biochemical reactions inside cellular processes.

  152. xmido

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD!

  153. Michãel

    A Very Merry Nerd-Birthday To You.

    Checking the cheeks of everyone around me for brain-sized parasites!

  154. A.J.

    Yes, I arrived at this blog via SMBC but I have it on RSS feed because it’s such fun to read about a scientist doing, y’know, actual science. Happy birthday, nerd.

  155. Arkady

    Belated birthday greetings, my fellow biology nerd 🙂 In honour of the occasion, here is the most disturbing fish parasite I have ever seen: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/09/isnt_nature_beautiful.php

    Your blog does make me slightly regret choosing virology over parasites… but hey, at least my virus only has 10 proteins!

  156. Calimecita

    So Zach says today’s the day, so Happy birthday Kelly!!

    I hope you’re happy with all these new visitors!
    As for me, I’ve been checking your blog for quite a while. To paraphase Tolkien, I cordially dislike parasites… but you keeps them interesting 🙂

    Good luck with that dissertation (…and patience, and focus, and energy, and did I mention patience?)

  157. jedberg

    I wanted to wait a day so I didn’t get lost in the crowd.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD!

    • weinersmith

      Thanks, Jedberg! 🙂

  158. birthday

    happy birthday nerd

  159. Christian

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NEEERRD.

    This blog appeals to my inner biologist. I think I shall watch you 🙂

  160. Jason

    I apologize dearly, but happy birthday nerd. I’m glad an accomplished biologist can live harmoniously with a (less) accomplished webcartoonist!

  161. Erl

    Happy birthday several days after your birthday, nerd!

    We need more of your kind.

  162. James

    happy birthday! From yet another stranger on the internets.

    I like crabs. (and I also like turtles)

    *sigh*… unfortunately I lack the whit or the knowledge to say anything more pertinent or interesting than that.

  163. CorMor

    Happy Belated Birthday Nerd!

    I wasn’t even going to post because it’s belated, but I just have to say that your blog is fascinating. My preferred studies are on trematodes in gastropods, but it’s cool stuff all around. Keep doing what you do!

  164. Jay

    Happy Belated , Nerd

  165. Heinzy

    Hey, I’m just here to congratulate you, you’re one year closer to death!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD

  166. Hotter nerd

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY NERD!

    • Hotter nerd

      Also: double-plus cool blag, yo. It needs more isopods however.

  167. Douglas

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD. 🙂

  168. Ryan

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD! My birthday is the 24th!

    I wanna do what you guys do when I grow up.

  169. Sam

    Happy Birthday Nerd! I hope you have a terrific day 🙂

  170. Christian

    God that wording sounds creepy. I shall enjoy reading your posts.*

  171. Bogdan

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  172. Laura

    Happy belated birthday, nerd!

    Also, I’m glad I clicked on the link. Your blog is incredibly interesting and addicting!

  173. Lulziguncula

    I came here to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD! but then was distracted by the science. (Actually, I opened this in a tab and forgot about it and was really confused but pleasantly surprised when I found a blog post about research and killifish) Mmm, parasites! I will definitely come back for more later.

  174. Chris

    Happy belated birthday, person.

    PS- You are such a nerd.

  175. Greg

    Happy birthday, hot nerd! 🙂

    • Jerod

      Seconding this.
      Nerd? Insightful? HOT!

  176. Gaby

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

  177. aiabx

    Happy Birthday, nerd!
    I came for the birthday greetings and stayed for the parasitic isopods the size of your brain. It’s like having in-laws! Very cool stuff!

  178. Tom

    Happy birthday, nerd! (in the best possible sense of the word, i.e. better that a nerkle and less good (but barely) than a seersucker).

    Your blog looks amazing – I will point it out to my animal loving girlfriend.

  179. Bill Rockenbeck

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NERD!

    (I actually do read your blog regularly, but also SMBC)

  180. Camille

    Happy Birthday Nerd!

  181. Ian

    Happy Belated Birthday Nerd! 😀

  182. loyalsmbcfan

    Happy birthday, nerd!

  183. Saurabh

    Happy birthday, nerd!

  184. More trouble for the killifish | Weinersmith

    […] I’ve discussed some intense killifish ectoparasites (see here and here), but now we’re gearing up for the good stuff. If you think their ectoparasites are […]

  185. Gus

    A bit late but… Happy Bithday, Nerd!
    ^_^
    I think your blog is really cool!

  186. Zach

    Happy Belated, Nerd.
    Also, awesome blog, +1 subscriber.

  187. Chad Walters

    I know I’m a little late on this but, Happy Birthday!
    I’m a frequent reader of smbc-comics, and was intrigued that your birthday fell on October 23rd. Why? Because that’s my birthday too! 😀

    Hope it was a good one! Mine sure was (treated myself to a bran new, self built desktop that I’ve been researching the parts for. Who’s the Nerd now?)

  188. Poker zasady

    I think I’ve discovered the secret of life – you just hang around until you get used to it.

  189. Liese

    Unrelated question: How did you inject the elastomer that made sure that your fishy friends didn’t die? I’m doing research with elasmobranchs that require elastomer patterns for identification, but they aren’t taking kindly to it…

  190. resor

    keep up the great work on the blog. I love it. Could use some more frequent updates, but i am sure you got other things stuff to do like we all do. :p

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  Posts

March 7th, 2017

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

Zach and I wrote a book! Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything explores 10 emerging technologies, and discusses the roadblocks […]

January 26th, 2017

Tales from the Crypt: a parasitoid manipulates the behaviour of its parasite host

I have a new paper out with Dr. Scott Egan, Dr. Andrew Forbes, and Sean Liu! The paper is Open Access […]

May 30th, 2016

Postdoc with Dr. Ryan Hechinger (and me!)

We’re looking for a postdoc! See below! —————— Postdoctoral Opportunity with the Marine Biology Research Division at SIO Postdoctoral Scholar […]

May 7th, 2016

Science…sort of Episode 240: Moon Rocks Don’t Glow

I co-hosted an episode of Science…sort of recently. I pasted the show notes below, but you’ll have to head over […]

February 24th, 2016

Books on parasites

I’m often asked by students to suggest books they can read about parasites. Below is a list of books that […]

August 22nd, 2015

Great Adaptations – A kid’s book about evolution

Zach Weinersmith and I contributed to Tiffany Taylor’s children’s book about evolution. Tiffany worked with scientists to create Seuss-style stories […]

August 22nd, 2015

Science…sort of Live Show from the Science Club in DC

I recently joined Ryan Haupt and Patrick Wheatley for a live episode of Science…sort of from the Science Club in […]

August 1st, 2015

My talk from the Future is Here Festival

Rick Karnesky and Rebecca Cohen from Nerd Nite East Bay invited me to give a talk at an event called The […]

June 28th, 2015

ASP Student Workshop Talk on Outreach

I gave a talk on outreach through blogging and podcasting for the Student Workshop at this year’s American Society of […]

February 3rd, 2015

University of Michigan Early Career Scientists Symposium

I’m thrilled to announce that I have been invited to speak at the University of Michigan’s Early Career Scientists Symposium! The […]