Spineless

Melibe from Ambon Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Another Melibe!

July 1, 2013

Ambon, Indonesia, April 2013 ~ I don’t know what made me touch the little piece of tufted algae – At that moment, I should have been concerned with surfacing and getting myself back to the tender waiting off the beach in the raging rainstorm that had started up while we were diving. But touch it I did and with a jerk, it bolted up off the bottom and started writhing through the water. It was a Melibe nudibranch and one … Read more

DeLoach - Hermit in a bottle

Photo Friday: Traveling

May 24, 2013

When we travel, I’m often accused of taking the whole house with me. In the case of hermit crabs, they do carry their homes. This one was traveling in a less conventional home. You can watch my video of a hermit crab changing shells and this one on my YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LJqEW756-Y

Ctenophore captures and engulfs fish Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Death by Ctenophore

May 21, 2013

March 2013, Halmahera, Indonesia ~ Oh no! Right before my eyes, my beloved benthic ctenophores, so delicate and colorful, have metamorphosed from gentle plankton netters to smothering killers of fishes and crabs! Drifting over a black rubble slope off Makian, our guide Yann Alfian points out a ctenophore-covered starfish. During our October trip around Batanta aboard the Dewi Nusantara, Yann asked me why I was spending so much time looking at these things on the starfish. I explained that these … Read more

Nudibranch on Xenia coral Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Another Coral Mimic

April 27, 2013

April 2013, Halmahera, Indonesia ~ More soft coral mimics! Back in November, I posted a video of a nudibranch, Phyllodesmium rudmani, that mimics the soft coral, Xenia, upon which it feeds (click here to see the previous post). Ned wasn’t with me on that dive so last month, during our cruise through Halmahera aboard the Dewi Nusantara, our guide Yann made sure Ned saw this different species of nudibranch, which I think is Phyllodesmium jakobsenae, another predator of soft coral. … Read more

Harlequin Shrimp Pair Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Harlequin Shrimp at Work

April 8, 2013

I love the way Harlequin Shrimp move – their little abdomens waggle – like bobbleheads in reverse – bobblebutts! And the  “wax on – wax off” movement with their claws – too cute! However, once you get past their looks, it gets a little gruesome because Harlequin Shrimp are voracious predators of starfish. I say gruesome because they don’t put a quick kill on them. No, they flip the starfish over so it can’t walk away then proceed to consume … Read more

Carry crab w:banana Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Carry On, Carry Crab

March 29, 2013

I love carry crabs! These little crabs of the family Dorippidae, have modified back legs that they use to grip things, living or inanimate, to disguise themselves. Last month, I posted video of one that I saw years ago, stumbling around with a live, writhing nudibranch. In 1999, on a night dive in Lembeh Strait Indonesia, I saw a tissue box run across the sand. I knew nothing about “carry” crabs at the time but laughed out loud when our … Read more

Spawning echinoderms: Crinoid

Spawning Echinoderms

February 22, 2013

February, 2013 ~ While cataloging video from several dive trips to Indonesia I realized that quite a few of our observations of spawning echinoderms are from the same area (and site, in some cases) but different seasons and moon phase (video at the end of this post). In the Caribbean, where we have had the opportunity to dive during the annual coral spawn almost every year for the past fifteen, echinoderms (a phylum that includes sea stars, brittle stars and … Read more

Papery stomatella Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Stomatellids!

January 17, 2013

January, 2013 ~ We are rock turners. Ned figures it takes about a 1,000 rocks to score a hit by uncovering some rare or unusual animal. Just offshore small villages or under piers, where we often dive, the hunt involves more trash than rocks but whatever we are turning over, it is exciting to uncover some cool crab or worm or my current favorite, a stomatellid. Our dive guide Denny discovered the 2-inch Papery Stomatella, pictured above, when he picked up … Read more

Phyllodesmium rudmani nudibranch Anna DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Nudibranch Mimics Soft Coral

November 15, 2012

November 2012 ~ Blennywatcher is still on the road and delighted to report that we’ve managed to add quite a few species to our life lists during this cruise around Batanta, Indonesia, including this nudibranch, Rudman’s Phyllodesmium (Phyllodesmium rudmani). Nudibranchs are sea slugs, shell-less marine snails; a group that includes some of the most colorful and beautiful invertebrates on the reef. This is one that we’ve long wanted to see. Our guide, Yan Alfian seemed pretty confident that we’d see … Read more

Brittle Star spawning Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Bonaire Spawning 2012

September 30, 2012

 The first coral spawning event Ned and I ever witnessed was in Key Largo, Florida in August 1995. It was a giddy night, punctuated by the thrill of actually witnessing what we had set out to see – something that doesn’t always happen. We described it in our 1995 Ocean Realm article (downloadable here). Since then, we have observed fish and invertebrate (including coral) spawning in many different places but the week after the September full moon in Bonaire remains … Read more