Bimini, 1995 – I noticed something unusual – a group of Yellowhead Wrasse (Halichoeres garnoti), including several normally solitary terminal phase males swimming together in a tight little group near the bottom. We were making a dusk dive at Turtle Rocks, looking for fish spawning action. We had already spent many afternoons watching the Yellowheads spawn. This little group was swimming with purpose, but it didn’t look like spawning. They swam a regular pattern for over twenty minutes, visiting several … Read more Putting a Wrasse to Bed
Indonesia (2004) – We spent the better part of 4 days in a shallow grass bed watching a shoal of squid mating and laying eggs down in the grass. We could not predict when they would show up and even more frustrating, they would spook and disappear for anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. This made for a lot of time underwater, just waiting. During the long waits, I amused myself by watching an anemonefish bury itself into its host anemone … Read more If I Can’t See You…
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia – I am a sucker for Striped Catfish, Plotosus lineatus. Their schooling and feeding behavior is mesmerizing and I follow these fish so often that I am teased about my magnum opus, Catfish, the Movie (to which of course I turn a deaf ear.) Juvenile Striped Catfish form dense balls that are often seen “rolling” over the substrate. The fish at the leading edge of the aggregation feed, as those above roll down over them. They can … Read more Observations: Striped Catfish
Sulawesi, Indonesia – Ned was working on a slide presentation, so I buddied up with our friend Jessica Hatsfelt for the afternoon dive. The boat moored in the center of a small sandy bay that had very little in the way of critter habitat – only an occasional small patch of sea grass. Hanny, our Eco Divers guide, led us over the sand and along a slope, pausing for a pipefish and nudibranch or two until we ended … Read more Ride ‘Em Frogfish!
Lately I have been reading about mimicry in fishes, which has prompted me to locate a bit of video I shot in the Exumas during a REEF Field survey a few years ago. When I dedicate a dive to a fish survey, I carry my video camera to help substantiate any identification that I’m uncertain about. On this particular dive, I noticed a small yellow fish swimming around the base of a coral head then up into the water column. It … Read more Observations: Tiger Grouper Behavior
We’re starting Search Image, a series of posts that are inspired by magazine articles we’ve written over the years. When biologists use the term search image they are usually referring to the sensory signs like smell, sound and visuals that predators are wired in to (my unscientific phrase) when searching for prey. As photographers and fish surveyors we develop our own search images for a certain creature or behavior, usually after having seen it for the first time, or after becoming … Read more Search Image: Sleeping Filefish