Category Archives: Invertebrates

Painted Shielded Horns

Thecacera picta - Nudibranch
Thecacera picta – Nudibranch

Thecacera picta – Nudibranch –
They are almost clear, you can see its internal organs through the translucent body. A characteristic feature of this genus are the long horns on its back, which can be extended and retracted. Most of the nudibranchs with feathery gills have them near the back of the body, but here they’re closer to the front.

Etymology
Thecacera. From Greek ‘theke’, a receptacle, a scabbard or sheath + ‘kerós’, horn, for the shielded rhinophores.
picta – From Latin ‘pictus’ for painted, colored, decorated

A rhinophore is one of a pair of chemosensory rod-shaped structures which are the most prominent part of the external head anatomy in nudibranchs.

Etymology
Rhinophore – relates to the function as an organ of “smell”. A mixed Latin and Greek word meaning “carrying noses” – “Rhino-” means nose from Ancient Greek ‘rhis’ and from its genitive rhinos. “Phore” means “to bear” from New Latin -‘phorus’ and from Greek -phoros “bearing”, a derivative of phérein.

BigFin Reef Squid

Big Fin Reef Squid
BigFin Reef Squid –
Sepioteuthis lessoniana

Bigfin Reef SquidSepioteuthis lessoniana – BfRS have a large oval fin that extends throughout the margins of its mantle.

  • BfRS adapt to warmer temperatures by laying more eggs, making them a good indicator species for climate change.
  • The babies resemble miniature adults and are remarkable for already having the capability to change body coloration upon hatching.
  • BfRS have the fastest recorded growth rates of any large marine invertebrate, reaching 600 g in only four months. They are a short-lived species, with a maximum recorded lifespan of 315 days.
  • Males have been observed to exhibit mating behaviors with other males. Some males have been found with numerous spermatophores embedded in their mouth funnels. Since BfRS distinguish sex by visual cues, this may be a form of deception. The smaller males (termed “female mimics” or “sneaker males”) might have assumed body patterning typical of females in order to trick larger males. Believing they are females, they will then waste their spermatophores on them.
  • BfRS are one of the most commercially important squid species, and are widely consumed as human food.

Coloration

  • Large chromatophores densely cover the upper surfaces of the head, mantle and arms with fewer on the sides.
  • BfRS are capable of metachrosis – rapidly changing body coloration and patterns through voluntary control of chromatophores.
  • They also possess iridophores that produces iridescent metallic greens and red when illuminated.
  • They are also one of two squid species with leucophores that are a reflector-type structural coloration that reflects ambient light, such that they are white in white light, green in green light, and so on.
  • BfRS are remarkable for having the ability to produce complex body patterns from the moment they hatch.

Etymology:
Sepioteuthis – Greek for “cuttlefish squid”
lessoniana: Named after René Primevère Lesson who was a 19th century French botanist and surgeon who collected it off the coast of New Guinea during the circumnavigational voyage of the French corvette La Coquille (1822–1825).

Hardest hitters on Earth.

Not Muhammad Ali – The Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Peacock Mantis Shrimp - Odontodactylus Scyallarus
Peacock Mantis Shrimp – Odontodactylus Scyallarus

Peacock Mantis ShrimpOdontodactylus Scyallarus – a smasher, with club-shaped raptorial appendages. An active hunter, it prefers gastropods, crustaceans, and bivalves, and will repeatedly smash its prey until it can gain access to the soft tissue for consumption. It is reported to have a “punch” of over 50 miles per hour, this is the fastest recorded punch of any living animal.

Here is an interesting read about their clubbing arms:

The stomatopod dactyl club: a formidable damage-tolerant biological hammer. The dactyl clubs exhibit an impressive set of characteristics adapted for surviving high-velocity impacts on the heavily mineralized prey on which they feed. Consisting of a multiphase composite of oriented crystalline hydroxyapatite and amorphous calcium phosphate and carbonate, in conjunction with a highly expanded helicoidal organization of the fibrillar chitinous organic matrix, these structures display several effective lines of defense against catastrophic failure during repetitive high-energy loading events.

Mantis Shrimp Eyes are also Highly unique in the animal kingdom.
Its specialized eyes can pick up several types of light, including infrared and ultraviolet, and its color vision tops ours. It can also see a type of polarized light that no other animal is known to be able to detect. The key to the extraordinary vision is in the structure of its eyes, which consist of six rows of numerous smaller eyes called ommatidia. It is the way the way light-sensing cells in some ommatidia are arranged. They sit at just the angle to convert circularly polarized light (CPL)–a type of light wave that travels in a spiral–to a form that other cells underneath can detect.

Etymology:

  • Odonto from Greek “having teeth” and Greek daktylos “finger, toe”
  • Scyllarus from Greek skyllaros, kyllaros “hermit crab” + -idae

Renate Khalaf’s Cleaner Shrimp

Renate Khalaf's Cleaner Shrimp - Urocaridella renatekhalafae
Renate Khalaf’s Cleaner Shrimp – Urocaridella renatekhalafae

Renate Khalaf’s Cleaner ShrimpUrocaridella renatekhalafae – a clear cleaner shrimp in the family Palaemonidae. It was identified as a species new to science in 2018, and was named in honor of the discoverer’s mother, Renate Khalaf.

Two important notes:
1. Shows that not everything you see has been identified yet
2. That you can name thing for your mom.

Etomology – Oura Greek meaning “tail” and Latin Carid meaning “crustacean”

Spotted Porcelain Crab

Spotted Porcelain Crab, Neopetrolisthes maculata

Spotted Porcelain Crab –  Neopetrolisthes maculata, lives as commensal in large sea anemones. Sitting among the stinging tentacles and filtering planktonic food from the currents.

Entomology Neopetrolisthes – neo Greek for “new”, petro – Latin & Greek for “rock”, olisthes – L & G for “slippery”
Entomology Maculata comes from the Latin root macula, meaning “spot, stain”

Ambon Crinoid Shrimp a master class in camouflage

Amboinensis Crinoid Shrimp - Periclimenes amboinensis
Amboinensis Crinoid Shrimp – Periclimenes amboinensis

Ambon Crinoid Shrimp or Feather Star ShrimpPericlimenes amboinensis – Hiding among the arms of the crinoid this little shrimp wondered if I could see him.

Small in size, between 1 – 1.5 cm, they can be highly variable in colors – Yellow, White,Black,Blue,Orange,Green,Brown and in combination of colors, all depending on the host Crinoid that it lives on, for camouflage.

Crinoids, also known as “feather stars” or comatulids are harmless, colorful creatures. They are among the most ancient and primitive of ocean invertebrates. Crinoids are Echinoderms (Phylum Echinodermata, meaning “spiny skin”). To feed, they extend their arms to catch bits of plankton or detritus (waste matter) passing in the current, making them “suspension feeders”.

Etymology of amboinensis Means “from Ambon” the island in the Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia.

Etymology of Crinoid – Greek word krinon, “a lily”, and eidos, “form”

Spider Decorator Crab

Spider Decorator Crab - Camposcia rutusa
Spider Decorator Crab – Camposcia rutusa

Spider Decorator CrabCamposcia retusa
The choice of noxious or stinging organisms as decorations implies that attaching them provides protection from predators by aposematism (warning) rather than by crypsis (camouflage), and there is direct observational evidence for this, e.g. that octopuses in tanks avoided decorated crabs. The relationship of crab and organisms such as sea anemones used as decoration may be mutualistic, offering protection to the crab and food to the anemone.

The crab tears a piece of adornment in its claws, chews it, and then rubs it firmly on its body until it catches on the “Velcro-like hooked setae”, curved hairs which permit camouflage materials to be attached. The carefully chosen decoration is supplemented by cryptic behavior, such as remaining still by day, and freezing when predators approach.

Dancing Chinese Dragon

The Golden Fireworm - Chloeia flava
Golden Fireworm – Chloeia flava

The Golden FirewormChloeia flava#PolychaeteA segmented #bristleworm belonging to the family #Amphinomidae. They have an elongated body made of 37 visible segments, each of them has a distinctive ocelli (simple eye), which is purple or dark color with a white outline and placed in the middle of the upper side. Small gills are present on both external side of the back just before the bristles and on almost all the segments.The body is covered laterally with calcareous spines or setae, they have bristle aspect which are whitish, fine, sharp and venomous.

Candy Crab

Candy Crab - Hoplophrys oatesi

Candy CrabHoplophrys oatesi – A very colorful crab that grows from 1.5 to 2 cm. It lives on various species of soft coral in the #Dendronephthya genus. It camouflages itself by mimicking the colors of the polyps among which it hides. It adds further camouflage by attaching polyps to its carapace. Colors vary depending on the color of the coral, and may be white, pink, yellow or red.

The first pair of legs of this species has small claws. The body has pointed spines with a red and white pattern, similar in appearance to the host coral.

Dwarf Cuttlefish

Stumpy Cuttlefish
Stumpy Cuttlefish

Stumpy CuttlefishDwarf CuttlefishSepia bandensis
This weird and wonderful cuttlefish is not actually a fish but is in fact a mollusk. They have an internal shell (cuttlebone), amazing large W-shaped pupils, eight arms and two tentacles which they use for feeding.

This little fellow was smooth a few moments before and then bumped himself up changed color from almost white to this tan, a true ‘chameleon of the sea’.