At first glance, adorable little boxer crabs don’t look like kidnappers, but a closer look reveals incriminating evidence—living anemones grasped tightly in each claw. As it turns out the crabs, which spend the day hiding beneath rocks along shorelines in the Indo-Pacific, commandeer hostages for gathering food as well as protection. This novel form of symbiosis was labeled as kleptoparasitism—the theft of food—in a 2013 scientific paper. The authors studied the relationship using aquarium experimentations and observations. In an unexpected … Read more
An opportunistic Black Grouper steals the show at a Bahamas shark feeding dive by snapping up the chumsicle.
When I became a diver, worms were among the first reef creatures to attract my attention. More accurately, it was the exposed crowns of frilly gills of Christmas Tree Worms, Spirobranchus giganteus, that drew my eye—so colorful, so appealing, so utterly unwormlike, and to Anna’s and my unending irritation, gone in a flash whenever we swam too close. While the worms’ long segmented bodies remain tucked away safe and sound inside strong calcareous tubes, their delicate crowns, vital for absorbing … Read more
Note: Portions of this article were originally published in Asian Diver magazine 2006 and in Scuba Diving magazine 2008. While exploring the pumice plain of Lembeh Strait in northern Sulawesi, Indonesia, I watched a coconut roll down the steep sandy slope of Teluk Kembahu Bay. Even though much of the Strait’s mountainous terrain is fringed with copra plantations, and huskless shell halves commonly litter the seafloor, I had never seen an intact coconut underwater, much less one tumbling along the … Read more
One of our favorite suggestions for fish watchers in the Caribbean is to look for small one-to four-inch Slender Filefish, Monacanthus tuckeri, hiding out within gorgonian bushes, where they shelter from predators, feed, and even more delightful, sleep or rest at night by biting down on polyps for stability – especially helpful when the current runs. This behavior turns out to be a common family trait. In the Caribbean, we have also observed the Whitespotted Filefish, Cantherhines macrocerus, Orangespotted Filefish, … Read more
We have more than forty years of magazines stuffed into bookshelves and closets around our house. We scanning and adding them to the BlennyWatcher Publications page.
Following the lead of veteran blackwater photographers, we headed for Anilao, Philippines for seldom-seen larval fishes and invertebrates.
Fernando de Norohna isn’t necessarily easy to reach, but the endemic fishes and gorgeous scenery are worth the journey.
Raja Ampat, Indonesia. February 2019. Ned bursts into our cabin, “Yan and I shot a fish we’ve never seen before!” It must be good – he hasn’t bothered to dry off before rushing down to download his camera’s memory card into his laptop. Now I regret skipping the morning dive. Tapping with one finger to avoid dripping into the laptop keys, Ned describes how he and Yan spent 40 minutes in a small cavern, patiently waiting for the 6-inch fish to make … Read more
Lembeh Strait, March 2018 ~ Our visit to Lembeh was short this time – we stopped over for a week on our way to Triton Bay – so I concentrated on things like comparing populations of blennies on certain sites, with what we’d seen during our extended September-October stay, just four months ago. One of my favorite blennies in Lembeh is the very large Ceram Blenny, Salarias ceramensis. Over the years, we’d run into an occasional five or six-inch individual … Read more