Coral reefs are constantly being built up and simultaneously torn down, but Crown of Thorns Starfishes throw that equation out the window. Left to their own devices during population outbreaks, Acanthaster planci devour coral polyps and devastate reef habitats. Herewith: Crown of thorns starfish facts. IF CROWN OF THORNS STARFISHES HAD A THEME SONG, it would be Darth Vader-type music. So destructive are these rogue echinoderms that their very name is synonymous with bad newsRead more
Category: The Photo
Photos of creatures. No reason. I just like them.
Stunning Images, Diverse Entries in UPY2020
THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR COMPETITION is based in Great Britain but it attracts stunning entries from around the world, both in photo locations and photographers’ nationalities. Winners and runners up for UPY2020 captured images as diverse as seals in Antarctica, shark pups in a mangrove forest in the Bahamas, a tuna caught up in a fishing net in Italy, a beauteous cave entrance in the Maldives, trapon hunting in a fishball in GrandRead more
The Inside Factor
HERE’S A RULE I FOLLOW ON DIVES: ALWAYS LOOK INSIDE THINGS. You can’t tell what’s you’ll find: Octopuses in holes or old tires, eels in crevices, brittlestars in vase sponges, cleaning gobies in barrel sponges, banded coral shrimps under ledges. Here’s a sharpnose puffer inside a tube sponge in Bonaire. Just hanging out, apparently. There appears to be another little fish, which I didn’t notice at the time, inside the tube at the right.Read more
The Shrimp-Goby Connection: An Ocean Odd Couple
GOOGLE THIS FISH, THE SPOTTED PRAWN GOBY, and most of the posts you’ll find are for the aquarium trade. Amblyeleotris guttata appears to be a popular fish for home saltwater aquariums. Www.fishbase.org carries a listing for it, but it’s largely related to it colors, size and distribution (which is the Western Pacific from the Philippines down to the Great Barrier Reef at Australia. This photo was taken on the GBR). IT’S A SHRIMPGOBY AllRead more
Squid Reproduction: Don’t Mess with Squid Eggs!
SOMETIMES, DURING DIVES, YOU ENCOUNTER THESE THINGS attached to the bottom. They’re squid eggs. Here’s a hint: Don’t Mess With Them! Remember Kirk Douglas battling the giant squid in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? It’s could be like that. Maybe. MAKING MORE SQUIDS Squid reproduction is a complex process that involves fertilization following the transfer of a male squid’s sperm – in the form of a single bundle called a spermataphore – into a female’s centralRead more
Babies on Board: How Lobsters Reproduce
WHETHER WE CATCH THEM OR BUY THEM, the process of having a lobster for dinner begins with lobster eggs – the tasty crustaceans begetting more of the same in the ocean. How lobsters reproduce is an arduous journey that takes as long as 20 months from mating to hatching. During much of that time a female lobster carries her eggs around on her underside, protecting and nourishing them. FIRST STEP TO LOBSTER EGGS: MOLT YOUR SHELLRead more
Glass or Masked, Gobies We Hardly See You
THESE LITTLE GUYS ARE SO SMALL AND TRANSLUCENT THAT YOU HARDLY NOTICE THEM, but they’re actually pretty common on reefs in the Caribbean. Tiny fishes that swim in swarms of a dozen or so just off the corals, they’re either glass gobies or masked gobies. Both an inch or so in length, the two species are so similar that one source suggests the only way to be sure is to hold them in your handRead more
This is a Photo of Arrow Crabs. Really!
IT MAKES SENSE THAT YELLOWLINE ARROW CRABS would want to hang out with long-spined sea urchins. After all, it should be a gimme that these crustaceans with 10 long, thin legs would seek to blend in with urchins whose most visible features are long, thin spines. On the other hand, the sources seem to put Stenorhynchus seticornis all over the place – atop sponges, sea fans and other gorgonians, under and next to sea anemones.Read more
Conch Eyes & Zen
FOR MANY OF US, DIVING IS ZEN, A MEDITATIVE EXPERIENCE. For me, communing with our fellow travelers under the sea is a major part of it. Spending time on the sandy bottom contemplating a queen conch while its (somewhat eerie) conch eyes contemplate me is a part of that. Some places are better for conch fellowship than others. I’ve found friendly conchs at Little Cayman, Roatan and in the Bahamas (this queen conch specimen wasRead more
Reef Lizardfish, Ambush Experts
LIKE ALL LIZARDFISH, REEF LIZARDFISH ARE AMBUSH EXPERTS. With their typical lizard-ish posture of sitting up on their pectoral fins, their M.O. is to lie on the bottom and grab passing prey in the form of small (sometimes surprisingly large) fishes with lightning-fast strikes. Reef lizardfish (Synodus veriegatus) are Indo-Pacific denizens, one of some 45 species found worldwide in Family Synodontidae. LYING IN WAIT With colors and markings that help camouflage them, lizardfish are found onRead more