Blennywatcher

Bonaire box jelly - Tamoya ohboya

Bonaire Banded Box Jelly – Tamoya ohboya

February 9, 2012

    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

Observations: Tiger Grouper Behavior

February 4, 2012

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

Coconut Octopus shot in Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

Archives: Coconut Octopus

January 26, 2012

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

Life List: Slender Sea Moth

January 22, 2012

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

Search Image: Sleeping Filefish

January 17, 2012

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

Life List: Millepora striata

January 12, 2012

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

I See You, Wonderpus!

January 9, 2012

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

2011 Blenny Wrap-up

January 5, 2012

Final thoughts from my 2011 blenny files plus a video from my 2004 archives: We have had a long-running discussion with some of our fishwatching friends about the Starksia blennies, in particular the ones we see in Bonaire. Are they Dwarf (S. nanodes) or Ringed (S. hassi) blennies? Some didn’t seem to fit any description that we knew. In early 2011, the Smithsonian Institution’s Dr. Carole Baldwin and coauthors, published a paper, Seven new species within western Atlantic Starksia atlantica, S. … Read more

Circus of the Spineless #69 is Up!

January 2, 2012

  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!

Blenny Fever

December 26, 2011

The email came on a Friday morning two weeks ago. It was a chatty note from our friend Judy, one of the Blue Heron Bridge Mucksters. “Right now we are seeing seaweed blennies with eggs, cardinal fish with eggs, and seahorses.” Oh, Oh, Oh! Blennies with eggs have been on my hit list forever. I spent many dives this year in Dominica, Bonaire and at the Bridge looking for looking for Redlip (Ophioblennius macclurei) or Seaweed (Parablennius marmoreus) blenny males, … Read more