April 2017 ~ Happy Friday. Here’s a blenny for your day. I haven’t been online for a while – work here on the home front has kept us preoccupied, hence the paucity of posts. Plus, I’ve been self-exiled from social media but I guess it’s time to check in and see all the fun I missed.
So, back to the blenny… At the end of January, we bounded off to Australia to join friends for five weeks of diving and touring. This trip of a lifetime was planned out by Dr. Richard Smith and Wendy Brown, who run Our Beloved Seas expeditions, so they know all about the logistics of moving a group of people (with lots of cameras and dive gear) around a country. We were joined by our friend, Yann Alfian, from Indonesia. This all started after Richard showed us his collection of images from dives he made in Australia during the years he lived there, conducting his work for his graduate degree. We wanted to see them all, seadragons, cuttlefish, sharks and especially this blenny, the Tasmanian Blenny, Parablennius tasmanianus – well, I wanted to see the blenny.
As promised, I got to see it on our very first dive in Australia, along with many other exciting fishes and inverts. Ned got the shot after I insistently dragged him away from an Elegant Filefish (I honestly thought he had finished photographing the filefish and how was I to know he had already photographed another blenny earlier?) I love blenny cirri and this guy had ‘em! I’ve asked my blenny scientist friends about the purpose of cirri and have never gotten a definitive answer. In some species, the males have bigger and showier cirri than the females, so they may be for courtship.
And then there was this, a Leafy Seadragon…
Richard took us at our word about wanting to see all the iconic fishes and invertebrates of Australia and mapped out the most fun road trip I think I’ve ever taken. Of course, there was no way to see them all, but in addition to the blenny, we managed Leafy and Weedy Seadragons, Horned sharks, Pajama Squid (actually a cuttlefish), Blue-ringed Octopuses, and Tasmania’s endemic handfish plus loads more. We started in Adelaide and ended up in Port Nelson, with a detour down to Tasmania. In the end, five weeks was just not enough and we can’t wait to return.
I posted this video of our first Leafy Seadragon on Facebook but never shared it to YouTube so others could see it:
I’m working on a portfolio of Ned’s images for a later blog post. He’s also writing a two-part article for our regular “Encounters” column in Alert Diver Magazine, so stay tuned.