Shoreline Spotlight: One Man vs. the Microplastics
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Being a superhero is no small task. The ideal superhero needs stealth, an unflappable cool, and the ability to adapt to different environments. What creature has such amazing talents and built-in superpowers? Penguins!
For Annual Penguin Awareness Day, here are four reasons why penguins make the best superheroes.
The Penguin Code
Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are masters at finding their partners amongst thousands of other individuals by using a specific contact call. When superheroes embark on secret missions, it’s important to have a plan for when the situation turns south. This contact call, as well as the ability to differentiate between thousands of other calls, would definitely come in handy in a sticky situation.
Masters of Illusion
With their black-and-white perma-tuxedos, penguins always come prepared for a formal occasion. The dashing white belly and black back is a form of camouflage known as countershading, which allows them to evade predators (ahem, supervillains). Whether above water or below, these birds are super stealthy. Seen by predators down below, their white belly blends with the surface of the water, while seen from above their black back blends with the dark sea
Though they look awkward on land, these birds become graceful and lithe as soon as they enter the ocean. They can outswim even the fastest human and maintain that speed for much longer! Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) hold the record for being the fastest swimmers of all 18 species! These penguins can reach speeds up to 36 km per hour. With a penguin in the driver’s seat, those open-ocean chase scenes just got a lot more interesting.
Built-in Jet Pack!
Penguins can add flair to any entrance with their built-in jet pack! They have the ability to move every feather on their body, by holding air bubbles underneath their top layer of feathers. This helps them stay warm. It also allows them to flatten their feathers to release the air bubbles and help shoot out of the water! The Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliea) can clear heights of up to two meters in order to save the day.
The Final Showdown: Overfishing
Despite the fact that penguins would make amazing superheros, overfishing is a villain they can’t conquer on their own. This is where you can leap into action and help these incredible birds by eating sustainable seafood! These birds need seafood to power their strong, multi-talented bodies and you can make a difference in their live by looking for the OceanWise Seafood label at a restaurant or supermarket —and feel proud in that superhero cape.