Photo Friday: Little Things ~ We’re all about little things at the BlennyWatcher Blog. Of course we like bigger animals – sharks, whales, rays (known as charismatic megafauna to some) but the little things, blennies, gobies, shrimp – are more our speed. When we decided to launch this blog, we chose the blenny as our poster fish and of course, this little 4-cm. blenny from the genus Salarias was our first choice for an icon.
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia ~ October 2012 Here is one of my favorite examples of mimicry in fishes: a Striped Fangblenny (Meiacanthus grammistes) model and its mimic, a juvenile bream, Scolopsis bilineatus. Neither fish is that uncommon on the Indo-Pacific reefs where we dive but this was the first time I took the time to follow a little Bridled Monocle Bream to see if it would lead me to the blenny that it is known to mimic. The relationship of this bream … Read more Mimicry: The Blenny and the Bream
Bonaire, September 2012 ~ A new species for our life lists but the Longhorn Blenny images did not come easily. Ned describes our adventure in the latest post about our September stay with Buddy Dive in Bonaire over on our travel journal: marinelifeblog.com but I just had to share another super close-up blenny face here: (video at the end of this post) Longhorn Blennies (Hypsoblennius exstochilus) are in the family Blenniidae (Combtooth blennies.) They prefer shallow, surgy habitats in the … Read more Longhorn Blenny Hunt
Bonaire, September 2012 ~ This is why they are called spinyheads! I have been examining Ned’s photo of a Spinyhead Blenny (Acanthemblemaria spinosa) for the past 30 minutes – I cannot get over the detail. Even with a flat port, diopter and tripod, I have never been able to capture a close-up video portrait that would allow me to examine the cirri and spines on the fuzzy little heads of these 1-inch fish. The amount and location of the cranial … Read more Blenny Face!
On our recent trip to Bali, I added a new blenny species to my Blennywatcher life list and observed what we are sure was spawning. Excited by my initial sighting, I chased a little Smith’s Fangblenny, Meiacanthus smithi, down the reef, where to my surprise, it joined a milling group, whose attention seemed to be focused on a blenny peeking out of a hole. The blenny in the hole would emerge, gently lunge at one of the group and swim … Read more Spawning Fangblennies
Blenny Watcher is back after a hiatus – With the help of family and friends, I have been caring for my 81-year old mother, who had spinal surgery to repair damage caused by a serious fall. An inspiration to us all, she is preparing to resume teaching her art classes next month and has shooed me off to get back to my own work. Although I do not possess her artistic abilities, I did inherit her overexcitable sense of curiosity, … Read more Blennywatcher Free Online Webinar
May 9, 2012 ~ Ned and I are very excited to be participating in REEF’s free online Fishinar series tonight. REEF, the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, offers some wonderful outreach programs for scuba divers, snorkelers and fish enthusiasts but we think the Fishinars, a.k.a. webinars are the coolest yet. Tonight’s program, “Speed Dating Fishy Style: How Fish Spawn and When You’re Likely to Catch Them in the Act”, will highlight many of Ned’s unique fish behavior photographs. If you read … Read more BlennyWatchers Live!
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
Part of getting ready for a dive trip is assembling our “hit list” of species we might encounter. A lot of our luck in finding unusual or rare species comes from knowing in advance, what is even possible. In 1999, on our first trip to Lembeh Strait, Jeremy Barnes showed us a pair of Pegasus Sea Moths, Eurypegasus draconis, puttering around the black sand slope at the dive site, Nudi Retreat. I was totally unprepared – had no idea such … Read more Life List: Slender Sea Moth
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