Lumpsucker Laughs

Laughs from Larry, the Spiny Lumpsucker

Who said learning isn’t fun! That is what we are all about at the Puget Sound Estuarium. This page is a collection of funny jokes related to estuary and marine environments that we think are worthy of internet publication. Live, laugh, but most of all, LOVE YOUR BEACH!

Warning: Some of these jokes may require advanced scientific knowledge…or a good internet search engine.

Q: What’s a basking shark’s favorite type of music?
A: Plank-tunes

Encounters with basking sharks are rare, but not unheard of in Puget Sound! According to The Puget Sound wiki, “The basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus, is the second largest living shark, after the whale shark. It is a passive filter feeder, filtering zooplankton, small fish, and invertebrates from up to 2,000 short tons of water per hour.”

Q: What do you call a fish with a tie?
A: soFISHticated

In 2015, NOAA scientists identified 253 fish species observed in marine or brackish waters of the Salish Sea ecosystem. These 253 species encompass 1 myxinid, 2 petromyzontids, 18 chondrichthyans, 2 chondrosteans, and 230 teleosts. They are contained within 78 families and 31 orders.

Q: What do shark trees consist of?
A: Elasmobranches!

Elasmobranch is a subclass of cartilaginous fish, including sharks, rays, skates, and sawfish. The Puget Sound is home to 11 species of sharks. Of these 11, three that are seen regularly are the Spiny Dogfish, the Sixgill Shark, and the Brown Cat Shark.

Q: Why did the kelp crab cross the road?
A: To get to the other tide.

A kelp crab’s shell roughly resembles a five-pointed sheriff’s badge, is smooth, and is longer than it is wide. The “points” of the shell have forward-curving hooks. The northern kelp crab’s legs are long and end in sharp points, which it uses to cling to surfaces. The dorsal (back) color of this crab ranges from yellow-green to red, and the ventral (underside) color is red or yellow.

This species is commonly found in the intertidal zone on pilings and hidden within kelp beds, particularly bull kelp. Northern kelp crabs often use kelp beds for shelter from predators, such as sea otters, and they also use kelp as their food. We have had several kelp crabs in our tanks at the Estuarium. Our current kelp crab, “Lefty” is amazing as she grew back three of her limbs. Come down, and check her out!

Q: Why wouldn’t the ghost shrimp share his treasure?
A: Because he was a little shellfish!

Neotrypaea californiensis, is a local ghost shrimp, that lives and burrows in the muddy estuaries of the Puget Sound. Their diet consists of plankton and detritus, and they can live up to 20 years. Ghost shrimp burrows – up to 100 more per meter – can soften the ground, resulting in oysters sinking into the mud and dying! That’s super spooky!

Q: Why did the tide pool join a gym?
A: Because it wanted bigger mussels!

Mussels are a type of mollusc known as a bivalve. They are related to clams, oysters, geoducks, and other bivalves, as well as snails, octopuses, and chitons. Mussel colonies are major features in protected marine waters of the Pacific Northwest. Come learn more about mussels and other molluscs at the Estuarium during our open hours (Sat & Sun 11 AM – 4 PM).

Q: What do you call a diatom that wags its tail and fetches your slippers?
A: Fido-plankton!

Diatoms are a super-important group of phytoplankton (microscopic plants and algae) which are responsible for creating a large portion of the Earth’s oxygen. Pet waste from dogs and cats are very harmful to diatoms, so remember to always pick up and dispose of your Fido’s waste in the trash!

Q: What is in the middle of a Jellyfish?
A: A jelly button!

Jellyfish species are classified in the subphylum Medusozoa which makes up a major part of the phylum Cnidaria, although not all Medusozoa species are considered to be jellyfish.

Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. Scyphozoans (the “true jellyfish”) are exclusively marine, but some hydrozoans live in freshwater. Large, often colorful, jellyfish are common in coastal zones worldwide. Jellyfish have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years, and possibly 700 million years or more, making them the oldest multi-organ animal.

Q: What did the zoologist say when asked him why he named his newt “Tiny”?
A: “Because he’s my newt!”

Reaching only 5 – 8.5 inches, rough skinned newts are cute and fearsome
critters. These lovable creatures pack an unlikely punch to predators with
toxic secretion through their skin called, tetrodotoxin, leaving those who eat it paralyzed or worse. Because of this adaptation, humans can experience skin irritation from rough skinned newts and can die if ingested!

However, not all are susceptible to the toxins of rough skinned newts. A
few rare species, such as the common garter snake, happily prey on rough
skinned newts without a scratch.

Q: Why did the acid and base go to the gym?
A: To become a buffer solution!

Ocean Acidification is the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the atmosphere.

Acidic water makes it difficult for plankton and marine organisms to make their shells. Some shellfish growers had to add a basic buffer solution to Puget Sound water in order to grow oysters many people love to eat. Washington State is the largest producer of hatchery-reared and farmed shellfish in the U.S, with more than 300 farms accounting for 25% of the total domestic production by weight and an annual farmgate value exceeding $108 million.

Q: Why was the ocean so salty?
A: Because the land didn’t wave back!

As we inch closer to the winter solstice something amazing is happening on our planet. At this point in our travel around the sun earth nears its maximum tilt away from its favorite star. This not only means shorter, darker days, but our highest tides of the year!

If you want to learn more about the changing tides, join us for Turn of the Tides at the Estuarium on December 15th. Come down to the Estuarium to celebrate the wonder of the winter season, Earth’s amazing turning tides!


To submit your joke, email Center(at)