Exhibition Catalogue (excerpts)
Though they may be beloved family members, it is important not to anthropomorphize our pets. Dogs are dogs. Koi are koi. More useful information can be gleaned from a study of natural behavior in a natural habitat. Toward that end, I present an extraordinary set of species from the tamponicus genus, and while we can all agree they are cute as hell, I prefer to keep this discussion in the realm of scientific inquiry.
The bright, saturated crimson of the female tamponicus fuckofficus serves to ward off advances from the males, whose aggression and stupidity they find distasteful. The males, meanwhile, are terrified of the deep red hue, leaving the females free to hang out and shoot the shit.
Unlike other members of the tamponicus genus, the tamponicus elegia form monogamous pair bonds, and can be observed migrating in tandem during spawning season. Procreation often proves challenging for the tamponicus elegia, and after the eggs are fertilized, both male and female wait, carefully guarding the spawn until they hatch. Failure to produce offspring results in unusual behavior, which appears to the human observer like arguing and blaming, followed by a month of apparent mourning. Females will typically lower their heads and curl up their tails, following the offspring of other females with their eyes. The males remain close by, but clearly have no clue what the females are experiencing.
The behavior of the rare tamponicus festivus is often compared to that of the pan paniscus, or bonobo chimp, in which sexual congress is the primary form of socialization, establishing both status and bonding in a complex family hierarchy. Females exhibit brief, casual sexual behaviors with both males and other females, and procreation is a secondary concern. In sharp contrast to the tamponicus elegia, the tamponicus festivus appear relieved at the failure to produce offspring, exhibiting the characteristic “festive” red bloom. Much has been written about the “dance” of the tamponicus festivus over their inert eggs, prompting members of the scientific community to speculate that this species is one of the few on the planet to have mastered voluntary birth control.
Noted for their dark purple color, the tamponicus cursio has been the subject of depressing poetry and song for generations. Stricken on the full moon with apparent severe pain and immobility, females of this species are known to refrain from strenuous activity for as much as a week at a time, bobbing with the tide, in small groups, apart from the rest of their colony. Males are, reasonably, prone to avoiding the females during this time, engaging in athletic activities and commiserating amongst themselves. A word of caution: if females in a colony are displaying the deep purple hue, it is advisable not to put one’s hands in the aquarium, as they will interpret this as a provocation to aggression, and their teeth are no joke.
Read "Three Lessons in Firesurfing," featuring Karla Wells, by Anne Elliott in Hobart 6.