Photos of creatures. No reason. I just like them.

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.

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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 was

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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 on

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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. DESIGNED TO DRIVE GUYS MAD! When a female squid deposits her eggs on the seafloor, she also imbues them with a protein that essentially drives male squids crazy – not about her but about the eggs.

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“Fish Flashing:” Fishy Therapy, or Simply a Good Backscratch? Plus, a Great Video!

WHETHER FOR HEALTH OR PLEASURE, FISH SOMETIMES ENGAGE IN A PHENOMENON CALLED “FLASHING,” otherwise known as rubbingtheir bodies along the sea bottom. Ned Deloach, in his estimable Reef Fish Behavior, describes it as an effort to deal with the irritation of parasites by scrapping them off, an alternative to the much more commonly seen symbiotic cleaning by small fishes and crustaceans. Discussions about the cleaning dynamic sometimes suggest that, in addition to health benefits, the fish

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Juvenile Slender Filefish

SLENDER FILEFISH (Monacanthus tucken) are only a few inches long and spend much of their time hiding out among gorgonians like this sea rod at the Turneffe Flats atoll off the coast of Belize.  They’re very good at camouflage and somewhat challenging to spot. They’re denizens of the Atlantic/Caribbean basin, found from the southeastern Caribbean as far north as North Carolina and Bermuda. SECOND OPINION PRINCIPAL SOURCES: Reef Fish Identification Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas; Reef Coral Identification, Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas,  Paul

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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   All of

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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.  

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Babies on Board: Lobster Reproduction Isn’t Easy

WHETHER WE CATCH THEM OR BUY THEM, the process of having a lobster for dinner begins with lobster reproduction – 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: MOLT YOUR SHELL AWAY    Like their

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The Damselfish Stare of Intimidation

MY FAVORITE FISHES TO ENCOUNTER ON THE REEF are three-spot damselfishes (Stegastes planifrons), feisty little guys (usually three to four inches long) that sometimes find you before you find them. That’s because they’re herbivores – algae eaters – who “farm” algae patches for their personal consumption. They constantly weed out the algae they don’t want, to make room for the types they want to encourage. “GET OFF MY LAWN!” And they guard their little gardens

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