Slender Filefish – Monacanthus 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.
Painted Frogfish – Antennarius 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’
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.
Bubble Coral Shrimp – Vir 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 Coral – Plerogyra 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’
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.
Peacock Mantis Shrimp – Odontodactylus 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.
Odonto from Greek “having teeth” and Greek daktylos “finger, toe”
Scyllarus from Greek skyllaros, kyllaros “hermit crab” + -idae
Renate Khalaf’s Cleaner Shrimp – Urocaridella 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”
Ambon Crinoid Shrimp or Feather Star Shrimp – Periclimenes 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”
Whitemargin Stargazer fish – Uranoscopus sulphureus – Stargazers are not a fish to mess with. They have double-grooved poison spines behind the operculum and above the pectoral fins and wounds can be quite serious. Stargazer possess electric organs located in a specialized pouch behind the eyes and can discharge up to 50 volts, depending on the temperature of the water at the time! Because stargazers are ambush predators which camouflage themselves and some can deliver both venom and electric shocks, they have been called “the meanest things in creation”. The fish is often locally known as the mother-in-law fish.
Inhabits reef flats but is rarely seen because it lies buried in the bottom most of the time, with only the eyes showing. When buried, the cirri on the edge of the mouth serve to keep out the sand during respiration. The oral lure is used to attract the prey within striking range of the mouth.
This little fellow was only about 15cm long but they get to a maximum length of 45.0 cm.