Category Archives: Photography

Frida has nothing on these Cirri

Secretary blenny -  Acanthemblemaria maria
Secretary blenny – Acanthemblemaria maria

Blenny Fact:
The eyebrow like appendages called cirri are used to feel for pressure waves of potential predators.

Secretary blennyAcanthemblemaria maria
Here the Secretary blenny has the cirri above the eye (a supraorbital cirrus.)
Acanthemblemaria maria lives in a hole in a colonial coral or an empty serpulid worm tube. It is often associated with small brain corals, sea fans, sea whips and sea urchins. They are an ambush predator, remaining concealed in its lair with only its head projecting, until a copepod or other small invertebrate prey approaches. At this stage, it darts out, grabs the prey and retreats into its home. The eggs are laid in the lair and are tended by the male, the female taking no part in their care.

Etymology
Acanthemblemaria: Greek akantha = ‘thorn’ + Greek, emblema, –atos = ‘anything that is nailed, knocked in’
maria: Latin = ‘Mary’
Cirri – Latin cirrus = ‘a curl-like tuft or fringe’

People say spiders are scary, but I am glad I don’t have crinoids hiding all over my house.

Liparometra regalis - Crinoidia - Feather Stars
Liparometra regalis Crinoidia – Feather Stars

Liparometra regalisCrinoidia Feather Stars

Etymology
regalis – Latin = ‘of or pertaining to a king’
Crinoidea – Greek from krinon – ‘a lily’

Crynoid Facts:

  • They’re not plants – Despite their resemblance to flowers, are not plants. They are echinoderms – animals characterized by their rough, spiny surface and 5 fold symmetry.
  • They’re not starfish – They are related to starfish in that they are both echinoids. Like starfish, Crinoids usually have 5 fold symmetry.
  • They eat with their arms – They are filter feeder and they wave their feathery arms which are covered with a sticky mucus to capture food -floating detritus. The feathery arms have growths called pinnules. The pinnules have rows of tube feet on each side of a groove running down the center. The tube feet that cover the arms pass the food to the center where it is put into their mouth.
  • Crinoids are old… really really old – They have been around since the Ordovician period – 490 million years ago. Paleontologists however, think they could be even older than that.
  • You’re more likely to find a crinoid fossil than you are living crinoid – Crinoids today are relatively rare however they were once plentiful and diverse. These echinoderms were at their height during the Paleozoic era (544 to 245 million years ago ). They could be found all over the world, creating forests on the floor of the shallow seas of this time period. There were so many in places, that thick limestone beds were formed almost entirely from their body parts piled on top of each other.

Why would anyone get excited about T. rex, when you have crinoids !

Robert Bakker – paleontologist

An orange cave dweller sitting where it shouldn’t be

Orange cup coral - Tubastraea Coccinea
Orange cup coral – Tubastraea Coccinea

Orange cup coralTubastraea Coccinea
belongs to a group of corals known as large-polyp stony corals. This non-reef building coral extends beautiful translucent tentacles at night. Tubastraea coccinea is heterotrophic and does not contain zooxanthellae in its tissues as many tropical corals do, allowing it to grow in complete darkness as long as it can capture enough food, namely plankton.

It is nice to see Tabastrea Coccinea in its natural environment. OCC has been introduced to all continents except Antarctica and is thought to compete with native benthic invertebrates for space and to compromise their communities. The reduction of native sponges and native corals could also have significant flow-on effects for entire ecosystems. OCC was introduced in the Caribbean in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s at Curaçao and/or Puerto Rico probably transported by fouled vessels, oil and gas platforms, artificial reef structures, or ballast waters.

Etymology
Tubus = tube; +astrea = Astrea – Astraea, daughter of Zeus and Themis, a goddess of justice named after the stars.
coccineus = Latin meaning ‘red like a berry’, scarlet.

Something Slithery This Way Comes

Yellow-lipped sea krait
Yellow-lipped sea krait
Laticauda colubrina

Yellow-lipped Sea Krait or Banded Sea KraitLaticauda colubrina
The worlds most venomous sea snake, found in tropical Indo-Pacific oceanic waters. They have distinctive black stripes and a yellow snout, with a paddle-like tail for use in swimming.

It spends much of its time underwater in order for it to hunt, but returns to land to digest, rest, and reproduce. It has very potent neurotoxic venom which it uses to prey or when feeling threatened by attack. When hunting, banded sea kraits frequently head into deep water far from land. Individual banded sea kraits return to their specific home islands, exhibiting philopatry.

Hunting is often performed alone, but may also do so in large numbers in the company of giant trevally and goatfish. This cooperative hunting technique is similar to that of the moray eel, with the banded sea kraits flushing out prey from narrow crevices and holes, and the partner feeding on fleeing prey. Their main prey item is eel but they have also been observed feeding on small fish such as gobies. They trap their prey in coral crevices using coils of their body. They show sex-based ecological divergence. For example, males being the smaller sex usually forage in shallower water than females and also tend to prey on different kinds of eels, than do their mates.

A deadly game of heads or tails: While probing crevices with their head, they are unable to observe approaching predators and can be vulnerable. The snakes can deter predators, such as larger fish, sharks, and birds, by fooling them into thinking that their tail is their head, because the color and movement of the tail is similar to that of the snake’s head.

Etymology
Laticauda = Latin latus = ‘broad’, +cauda, ‘tail’, in reference to the wide, flat tail
colubrina = Latin colubrinus = ‘having the qualities of a snake’.


The many footed

Porous sea rodPseudoplexaura porosa
The holes from which the polyps project are large and crowded together, and are arranged spirally up the branches. The polyps overlap each other, each one having eight tentacles. The polyps spread out their tentacles to feed on plankton both day and night. The octocoral has symbionts with zooxanthellae that inhabit the tissues.

The polyps are armed with nematocysts (stinging cells) and can be retracted into the branches defensively. Pseudoplexaura porosa has few predators that feed on it including the flamingo tongue snail, nudibranchs, butterflyfish and some angelfish.

Individual colonies of P. porosa are either male or female. On particular nights about five days after a full moon in summer, mature colonies liberate gametes into the sea. Planula larvae that develop from fertilized eggs sink to the seabed five days later and undergo metamorphosis to found new colonies. These are soon colonized by zooxanthellae and grow by budding of new polyps. Besides growing asexually and reproducing sexually, pieces of this coral may detach from the parent colony and become fixed to substrate to create a new colony. P. porosa can live for several decades, and the greatest cause of mortality is detachment from the seabed during tropical storms

Etymology
pseudo – Greek ‘false, lying’ +plex – Latin ‘to plait’ a single length of flexible material made up of three or more interlaced strands; a braid.
porosa – Latin porus ‘an opening’

Discover your Adventure with us!

Pink Pepé Le Pew

Pink Skunk clownfish - Amphiprion Perideraion
Pink Skunk clownfish – Amphiprion Perideraion

Pink Skunk clownfishAmphiprion Perideraion
The Pink Skunk is the only species of anemonefish to primarily feed on algae.

The magnificent sea anemoneHeteractis Magnifica – has two feeding methods. The first one is through the photosynthesis of its symbiotic zooxanthellae, living in its tissues, the second by capturing its prey with its tentacles that allow it to immobilize its prey (small invertebrates, fry or juvenile fish) See also https://marinebiology.org/2019/01/19/clarks/

Etymology:
Amphiprion: Greek, amphi = on both sides + Greek, prion, -onos = saw

This Orangutan also lives in a Bubble

Orangutan Crab in Bubble Coral, Achaeus japonicus in Plerogyra sinuosa
Orangutan Crab in Bubble Coral, Achaeus japonicus in Plerogyra sinuosa

Orangutan Crab Achaeus japonicus
“orangutan” comes from the Malay words “orang” (man) and “(h)utan” (forest).  Hence, “man of the forest,” and these crabs really seem to look like their Terra-based namesakes. Not only do they resemble Orang-utans with their hair, but they also seem to sway their front legs from side to side in a very good imitation of an this great ape!!
It is frequently, but not always, found in association with the bubble coral Plerogyra sinuosa

Etymology:
japonicus – Latin, literally ‘Japanese’
The Achaeus Greek  – Ἀχαιοί, were one of the four major tribes into which the people of Classical Greece divided themselves (along with the Aeolians, Ionians and Dorians)

Wrecks transformed into a fantastic garden of life

RMS Rhone propeller
RMS Rhone propeller and Silversides

Royal Mail Ship Rhone wrecked off the coast of Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands on 29 October 1867 in a hurricane. The rusting hull of a shipwreck provides provides the perfect platform for the development of a living reef . Almost immediately a ship comes to rest on the seabed an ecosystem will start to establish itself. Fish are usually the first to arrive at a new wreck, but are quickly followed by scores of other creatures. This ecosystem will eventually become varied and prolific, with an astounding number of different species often inhabiting a very small area. Many species need a foothold or place to hide in the fish-eat-fish world beneath the sea, and ships by their very nature contain a myriad of nooks and crannies that provide perfect homes for many of these critters. The wreck acts as a reef that will provide shelter for numerous species of fish and crustaceans, and the fact that they are usually raised from the sea bed makes ideal habitats for sea anemones, coral and fan worms, which feed by filtering the sea water as it flows by.

The stern section of the dive doesn’t offer too much in the way of penetration possibilities but probably has the most beautiful swim through of all wreck. Here is the stern of the ship with its propeller and rudder. The swim through also provides a protected area for the Hardhead silverside sardinesAtherinomorus stipes and Glassy sweeperPempheris schomburgkii to gather in great numbers.

Clownfish and its Tent

Clark's Anemonefish - Amphiprion Clarkii
Clark’s Anemonefish – Amphiprion Clarkii

Clark’s AnemonefishAmphiprion Clarkii
In a group of clownfish, there is a strict dominance hierarchy. The largest and most aggressive fish is female and is found at the top. Only two clownfish, a male and a female, in a group reproduce through external fertilization. Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning that they develop into males first, and when they mature, they become females. They are not aggressive.

Magnificent Sea AnemoneHeteractis Magnifica
Venom present in sea anemone (Heteractis magnifica) induces apoptosis in non-small-cell lung cancer A549 cells through activation of mitochondria-mediated pathway. The longevity of in the wild is unknown, but estimated that some of these anemones are hundreds of years old. The Clarks Anemonefish lifespan is only 14 years. The reproduction of the anemone can be sexual by simultaneous transmission of male and female gametes in the water or asexual by scissiparity,which means that the anemone divides itself into two individuals, separating from the foot or the mouth. That makes me say “Hmmm, very impresive.

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’