Indonesia, 2006 – I have never been fond of night diving – it is dark down there and I spook easily. Our work on the Tropical Pacific invertebrate book was a challenge for me because so many of the cryptic creatures we were hunting come out at night to feed. I was a reluctant night diver but I made it through the four years of fieldwork, often making two dives a night for four weeks at a time. Hermit crabs … Read more Hermit in a Bottle
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia (2007) – I was at the end of a 2-hour dive, off-gassing in about 10 feet of water and struggling to stay in place in the sudden, brisk current. I saw several juvenile Red Emperor Snappers, Lutjanus sebae bolt for a gathering of Radiant Sea Urchins, Astropyga radiata, which is not unusual since the snappers, when they are much smaller, are often found living within the spines of theses urchins. Then I noticed the urchins were spawning! … Read more Radiant Sea Urchins Spawning
St. Vincent – Oh boy! Another species for our life lists. We recognized the pulsing creature as a jellyfish, but would not have known it was the jellyfish, had we not been alerted to its existence by Bud Gillan, a teaching colleague of Ned’s from years back. Bud, now teaching AP and Honors Biology in South Florida, had been tracking this species for nearly a decade. He showed us a photo of the then undescribed jellyfish when we met up … Read more Bonaire Banded Box Jelly – Tamoya ohboya
The BlennyWatcher is very pleased to be included in the February edition of the Circus of the Spineless blog carnival. This latest edition is hosted over at Beasts in a Populous City, where a wonderfully diverse assortment of blog posts about invertebrates have been woven together for your reading enjoyment. This is the happening place to get a good armchair dose of spineless nature. Click over and enjoy.
NOTE: We have republished the story, with additional images in a July 2020 post on this blog. In the field, I scout for rare or unusual animals for Ned to photograph for our magazine articles. I use a video camera to record their behavior for later analysis and over the years have ended up with hours and hours of footage. For two weeks in the summer of 2005, we dived with a pair of Coconut Octopuses, Amphioctopus marginatus. This cephalopod … Read more Archives: Coconut Octopus
Until our friend Jesse Armacost showed us tiny Red Clingfishes living in fire coral on Bonaire, I rarely paid any attention to those corals or what lived in them. Since then I’ve spent the end of many dives looking for tiny cryptic fishes and inverts that live in these typically shallow-water corals, but admit that I still didn’t really pay much attention to the corals themselves. Before I go any further, I should mention that technically, fire corals (milleporids) are … Read more Life List: Millepora striata
We followed the Wonderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) for most of our hour-long dive. Occasionally it would disappear down an impossibly small hole and emerge a few minutes later. Was it was after prey or trying to elude us? We suspected prey because it didn’t seem very concerned by our presence. In my video, (at the end of this post) a shrimp goby attacks the octopus as it approaches the goby’s burrow. The octopus was undeterred and emerged from the goby’s … Read more I See You, Wonderpus!
The BlennyWatcher is very pleased to be included in the January 2012 edition of Circus of the Spineless hosted over at Wild About Ants. Check out this month’s collection of interesting posts about everything from butterflies to squid – Slugyard’s Cartoon Caterpillar is the coolest!
Cataloging long neglected video is a good way to fend off cabin fever. I relive dives and get some work done at the same time. I’m up to November 2008, Papua New Guinea – a rare day, with everything that for us, made the perfect dive: a shallow, mucky bay, with outflow from a river; warm water; no current – and – permission from the dive operator to stay down as long as we wanted! Unfortunately, the site had been ravaged … Read more Invertebrate Fun: Emperor Shrimp
A few months ago Ned and I spent a week hanging out with Denise and Ken Nedimyer, founders of the Coral Restoration Foundation, based in Key Largo (you can read a short article and watch the video we made in 2008 after a visit to their coral garden in the Florida Keys), Their coral surveying trip to Bonaire coincided with our annual stay at Buddy Dive, so for a few days our morning coffee discussions switched from fish to coral. … Read more Life List: Acropora prolifera