Category Archives: Marine Life

Crawling Rainbow

Glossodoris Cincta Nudibranch
Glossodoris Cincta Nudibranch

Glossodoris Cincta – Nudibranch
Feeds on sponges. When crawling, the gills make vibrating movements. When provoked, it discharges a white fluid from mantle dermal formations – in which they store distasteful chemicals from their food sponges to use defensively.

Etymology
Glosso= Greek ‘singular’ + dorís= ‘a nymph’, one of the daughters of Oceanus
cinctus= Greek ‘to put a belt around’

Scrambled Egg nudibranch

Sky Blue Phyllidia Nudibranch - Phyllidia varicosa -
Sky Blue Phyllidia Nudibranch – Phyllidia varicosa –

Sky Blue Phyllidia NudibranchPhyllidia varicosa
Probably the most frequently seen tropical Indo-Pacific nudibranchs. The phyllidiids are a group of firm, tough-bodied dorids in which the usual circlet of gills are replaced by leaf like secondary gills under the mantle skirt. It is sometimes called the “scrambled egg nudibranch.” These sea slugs are masters of chemical defense and contain a chemical mucus poisonous to fish and crustaceans. Scientists named it 9-isocyanopupukeane after the dive site, Pupukea, on O`ahu’s north shore. They are capable of killing all life in the aquarium if stressed in any way. They have no known predators.

Etymology
Phyllidium, from the Greek phyllos = ‘leaf’
verrucosa = from Greek ‘wart-like’

Where is Adam?

Ambon Crinoid Shrimp on Crinoid
Ambon Crinoid Shrimp on Crinoid

Ambon Crinoid Shrimp – “Laomenes Amboinensis sp group”
Trying to identify which species of shrimp this is has proved to be more difficult then I desired. It has become a field of rabbit holes. Each time thinking that I found it it turn out No. I only have one photo of this fellow. To date, nine valid species are known in this genus and they show a wide diversity of morphological features such as shape of cornea and eyestalk, chelipeds and dactyli of ambulatory pereiopods, coloration and host specificity. Although many underwater photographs of these colorful shrimps are available in guide books, magazines and internet, there are rather few taxonomic reports on the species of this genus and most species only have limited confirmed geographical records. Moreover, it is highly likely that more species are present in Laomenes.

Etymology:
In Greek mythology Laomenes is a son of Heracles and Oreia, daughter of Thespius, king of Thespiae, and Megamede; during his hunt for the lion of Cithaeron to free Thespiae from this scourge, Herakles stayed with Thespius for 2 months, as a result all 50 daughters of Thespius and Megamede bore him a son each (except the oldest, who produced twin boys); Laomenes was one of these 51 boys.
 Ambon Island is part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia +ensis, Latin denoting origin

This is the true color of the shrimp and the crinoid host. I have decided to name him “Skinny Adam L”.

It is a lighter shade red than Maroon 5.

Jon B, jason B said “for crinoid out loud that is a bad joke”.

tiny Warty Frogfish

Juvenile Warty Frogfish or Clown Frogfish - Antennarius maculatus
Warty Frogfish or Clown Frogfish – Antennarius maculatus

Juvenile Warty Frogfish or Clown FrogfishAntennarius maculatus
You can tell a Warty Frogfish from the painted frog fish by the skin being very warty (not so much as still juvenile) and a large triangle patch starting at the eye. The warty frogfish exhibits biofluorescence, that is, when illuminated by blue or ultraviolet light, it re-emits it as red, and appears differently than under white light illumination. Biofluorescence may assist intraspecific communication and camouflage.

Etymology
antenna – Latin =’ a sensory appendage on the head’ refering to the fish’s lure, + arius – Latin = ‘pertaining to’
maculatus – Latin = ‘spot, stain’

Shortpouch Pygmy Pipehorse and friends

Shortpouch pygmy pipehorse - Acentronura tentaculata
Shortpouch pygmy pipehorse – Acentronura tentaculata

Shortpouch pygmy pipehorseAcentronura tentaculata
Like a combination of seahorse and pipe fish: their tail is prehensile and used for anchorage, winding itself around pieces of algae or seagrass. However, the front part of the body is typical pipefish, with the head and body held in line rather than bent through and angle like seahorses. There is sexual dimorphism and the males are somewhat larger and more robustly built than the females. Because they are so small, the brood pouch is also large in proportion to the body, giving the males a somewhat more seahorse-like appearance than the females which have the typical slim linear form of pipefishes.

Skeleton Shrimp – Caprellidae family – amphipods. Females carry large number of transparent eggs inside the brood pouch (located on her abdomen) until they hatch.

Etymology:
Acentronura: Greek, a = ‘without’ + Greek, kentron = ‘sting’ + Greek, oura = ‘tail’

Pookey the pygmy pipehorse gathers his skeleton shrimp friends around to retell the great story of the day that Jon descended down from the waters above. Jon was dressed in a dark fake skin that was stretched very tight. Attached to each of his rear appendages were awkward rubber fins. His blue eyes were concealed behind a layer glass. A great hissing sound followed by a rumble of bubbles escaped from around Jon's mouth in a rhythmic pattern. Hssssss blublublublublublub Hsssssss blublublublublublub! He carried in front of him a great contraption that flashed a very bright light from the orbs at the end each of its antennas - one on each side of a single unblinking eye. Jon stayed only a few moments peering into this contraption and pointing that mysterious eye to and fro. FLASH Hssssss blublublublublublub…..FLASH Hssssss blublublublublublub. FLASH Hssssss blublublublublublub. Then, Jon swam off at a great speed. It was indeed a marvelous day.

Slender Filefish blends right in

Slender FilefishMonacanthus tuckeri
This filefish is a master of adaptive camouflage, it changes appearance in less than four seconds. Three-dimensional dermal flaps complement the melanophore skin patterns by enhancing the complexity of the fish’s physical skin texture to disguise its actual body shape. Found over sandy and rocky bottoms. Usually they live solitary or in pairs between gorgonians, sponges or near coral growths. Often they stay vertically in the water. Especially between gorgonians they are difficult to spot in this position. Feeds on algae and invertebrates. Due to the extremely small size of the slender filefish, they do not lie on the seabed as bigger fish do, but use their mouth to grasp the soft corals which prevents them from drifting with the sea currents.

Etymology:
Monacanthus: Greek, monos = ‘one’ + Greek, akantha = ‘thorn’

Painted frogfish

Painted Frogfish - Antennarius pictus
Painted Frogfish – Antennarius pictus

Painted FrogfishAntennarius pictus – Has a lure which is about twice as long as the second dorsal spine. Nearly always 3 light-edged spots on tail fin. A. pictus shows a lot of different colors and changes them quite often.

I was disappointed that I could not capture a photo of the little lure waving about. When I put my camera in the housing I did not get the strobe hot shoe clicked completely in place. This was lighted by holding my dive light from above and I couldn’t produce enough light for a fast enough shutter speed to catch the waving.

Etymology
Antennarius: From Latin, antenna, antemna = ‘sensory organ’
pictus: From Latin = ‘painted’


A Sea Cookie Monster?

Spotted Worm Sea Cucumber - Synapta maculata
Spotted Worm Sea Cucumber – Synapta maculata

Spotted Worm Sea CucumberSynapta maculata – Sometimes growing as long as 10 ft, it is one of the longest sea cucumbers in the world. The 15 tentacles of Synapta maculata surround the mouth and are used in surface feeding. They are about 1 in long when extended and have a short stem and a feather-like blade with thirty to forty pairs of pinnules (secondary branches). The outer surfaces of the tentacles have numerous bulges and are adhesive while the inner surfaces are smooth, with clusters of cilia on the proximal parts. The tentacles are in continuous motion; they flatten themselves against the substrate or seagrass leaf blades and collect food particles by adhesion, then bend inwards until the tips are in the mouth, where the food is scraped off by the buccal (mouth) sphincter muscle. The whole process takes only a few seconds, and several tentacles can deliver their loads at the same time. You can watch them go at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ru1fcsFp1M

Now for the comparison to The Cookie Monster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqL7jyrXhLs

Etymology:
Synapta: Latin ‘joined together’
maculata: Latin maculosus ‘spotted’

It’s a tentacular spectacular!

Phyllodesmium briareum - Nudibranch
Phyllodesmium briareum – Nudibranch

Phyllodesmium briareum – Nudibranch – There is a lot going on in those wavy arms. The name briareus was apparently given to it because it uses camouflage and looks like the soft coral Briareum violacea with which it is often found. Their specific name briareum comes from Briareos, one of three Greek storm giants who each had one hundred hands and fifty heads. P. briareum spends the day feeding on various kinds of soft coral, but they also have contains zooxanthellae which live in specialized ducts in the digestive gland. They do their photosynthesis thing and provide sugars.

The tentacles are cerata (from the Greek word meaning “horn”, a reference to the shape of these structures) of conventional aeolid shape. Aeolids (a suborder of Nudibranchia)take their name from the Greek god of the winds, Aeolus because of the waving of their cerata resembles streamers in the wind.
All aeolids have these dorsal and lateral outgrowths of the body. They are a blood-filled tube which contains a duct of the digestive gland. At the tip of the ceras in most aeolids is a sac, called the cnidosac which stores stinging nematocysts from the cnidarians (sea anemones, hydroids etc) on which they feed. Aeolids can discharge these nematocysts in their own defense. Some aeolids, such as species of Phyllodesmium which feed on soft-corals, do not have a cnidosac because the nematocysts of soft-corals are of little use in defense. Instead their cerata produce a horrible sticky secretion at the tip of the ceras. The cerata can even drop off and wriggle around, hopefully distracting assailants giving it a chance to escape.

Being an aeolid, P. briareum lacks the gills found in many other nudibranches. Instead, they do all their breathing straight through the skin, but particularly through those wonderful tentacles which are known as cerata.

Life among the Bubbles

Bubble Coral Shrimp - Vir philippinensis
Bubble Coral Shrimp – Vir philippinensis
Bubble CoralPlerogyra sinuosa

Bubble Coral ShrimpVir philippinensis
Like all coral associated shrimps, the limit between, parasitism and mutual symbiosis, is pretty thin. Probably that the shrimp, in exchange of food and shelter, helps fight off some small parasites, such as flat worms, coral eating nudies, some sponges or algae that would compete with the corals. or even clean the coral off any detritus, sand…

Bubble CoralPlerogyra sinuosa
The vesicles resembling bubbles up to 1 in in diameter. These enlarge during the day but retract to a certain extent during the night to expose the polyps and their tentacles. It obtains most of its nutritional needs from the symbiotic dinoflagellates that live inside its soft tissues including the walls of the vesicles. These photosynthetic organisms provide the coral with organic carbon and nitrogen, sometimes providing up to 90% of their host’s energy needs for metabolism and growth. Its remaining needs are met by the planktonic organisms caught by the polyps at night.

Etymology
Vir – from Latin ‘man’
philippinensis –  Means “from the Philippines”
Plerogyra Plero from Latin ‘almost’ + gyra, alteration of Greek gŷros ‘circle’ or ’round’
sinuosa – Latin ‘winding’