Natural History

Nailed by a bristle worm - hazard of rock turning

International Rock Flipping Day

September 11, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 1025 Update We are on the island of Bonaire, where one dare not touch a rock, even in the gentlest of ways. So, for International Rock Flipping Day, I decided to follow some fishes that are the best at rock flipping: goatfishes. My video contribution starts with a Spotted Goatfish and ends with another species, the Yellow Goatfish. Goatfishes got their common name from a pair of highly sensitive appendages (barbels) just under their chin that they … Read more

Mudskipper at Bega Island, Fiji

Blennies and Beans – Fiji Edition

April 6, 2015

March 2015 ~ Blennies and sea beans – two of my favorite things – in the same week.  We’re ending our longest dry spell in years with a short land-based stay in Beqa (pronounced ben-ga) Island, Fiji, before we join friends aboard the Nai’a liveaboard dive boat. There is a very shallow, wide sand shelf here in front of Lalati Resort that is dry at low tide, making for hours of entertaining beach-combing and tide pooling. The wrack along the … Read more

The Natural HIstory Museum - gargoyle or grotesque?

Topside Interlude

October 28, 2014

Years ago, Ned and I decided that when we were too old to scuba dive, we would spend our time visiting as many natural history museums of the world as we could. It recently occurred to us that we might not ever stop diving, so we should probably get on with the museums. A visit to friends, Cary and Jim Yanny, made the Natural History Museum, London the logical place to start. What a thrill to visit this beautiful building … Read more

Smithsonian's National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit

Smithsonian’s National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit Closes

June 26, 2014

We love invertebrates – animals without backbones – from the prickly, squiggly and heebie-jeebie-inducing to the colorful, intricately evolved and delicate. Above and below sea level, they make up over 95 percent of Earth’s species. The title of this blog features a fish, but invertebrate sightings – cuttlefish, octopuses, corals, worms, nudibranchs – are often the highlights of our dives. Last week, when the news arrived that the Smithsonian’s National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit was closing, we were shocked and saddened. … Read more

Hermit in bottle cap Anna DeLoach

Photo Friday: Mobile Phone Photo

July 20, 2013

This week’s Photo Friday challenge is “mobile phone photo”. I count flip-flops that have been washed ashore on distant beaches. This time, the phone camera came in handy when a little hermit crab that had adopted a piece of washed-ashore trash for its home came wandering across the collected shoes.

Settling Goatfish Ned DeLoach

Blennywatcher on Wetpixel

July 9, 2013

Last month, featured a gallery of Ned’s underwater photographs in its Full Frame feature. It was fun to select them from our favorites of the past two years and Ned enjoyed annotating them with comments. In our introduction to Full Frame, it was announced that we would be writing a monthly column for Wetpixel, called the BlennyWatcher Diary. Wetpixel is an online site featuring underwater photography and videography and has been a good friend to BlennyWatcher, sharing occasional stories … Read more

Cleaning Tomato Grouper by Ned DeLoach

BlennyWatchers Live, Online

May 11, 2013

Calling all fishwatchers! Join us on May 15, 2013 at 8pm EDT, for “Cleanliness is next to Fishiness: All About Cleaning Stations”, highlighting many of Ned’s unique cleaning station photographs. We’ll be live, online for this fish behavior class, via REEF’s free online Fishinar series. REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) offers some great outreach programs for scuba divers, snorkelers and fish enthusiasts including the Fishinars, a.k.a. webinars, that are so much fun. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A … Read more

Baja Sea Lions Ned DeLoach

Photo Friday: Artificial Light

May 11, 2013

Artificial light is essential for underwater photographs and video. Water absorbs light, starting with reds then oranges, yellows and on through the color spectrum. Even at a shallow depth of 10 feet, you can see that the reds have disappeared, rendering everything a monochromatic greenish blue; it took the light from an underwater strobe to light this sea lion mother and pup.

Hornbill over Batanta by Wendy McIlroy via

Postcard from Batanta: 100 Hornbills

November 8, 2012

October, 2012 ~ Aboard the Dewi Nusantara, Blennywatcher is circumnavigating the island of Batanta, one of the four main islands of the Indonesian region known as Raja Ampat. This is the eighth year that we have dived in this area but the first with an itinerary that would keep us almost entirely around one island. Because of its proximity to Sorong, the starting and/or ending point for most liveaboard dive boats, Batanta is almost always on every itinerary but I … Read more

Beachcombing Finds from

Beachcombing Treasures

August 25, 2012

Update 2016 ~ I posted a correction to this blog back in October 2012, but I posted it in another blog post. Recently, someone contacted me for assistance in identifying something found on a beach and I realized I should have made that correction in this post, so here it is: The “parrotfish beaks” below that I found on a previous trip to Bermuda are not from parrotfish at all – they are chiton shells. An alert reader corrected me. You can … Read more