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 Smithsonian’s National Zoo Invertebrate Exhibit Closes
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 Another Melibe!
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 Spawning Echinoderms
June 2012 ~ We are blogging from the center of Lembeh Strait, Indonesia this week. When I say we are in the center of the Strait, that is where we are, literally – out on Eco Divers’ day boat, posting through the miracle of Wi-Fi. This pinhead sized shrimp, photographed by Wendy McIlroy, exemplifies the reason we keep returning to Lembeh. Ned and I made our first dive here in 1999 and since, have made the 44-hour trip from our … Read more Lembeh Fish & Critter Hunt – Week One
Ambon Indonesia, April 2011 – Dark, murky water; volcanic rubble; no coral – we have been working our way to this site since the start of our dive cruise that began near Batanta, Indonesia two weeks ago. The areas we visit so far have stunningly beautiful coral reefs – full of fish, but the critter hunter in me unapologetically waits for my real target: Ambon’s Laha Pier, a.k.a., the Twilight Zone. This site has been serving up exotic critters since … Read more Ambon: Colorful Muck
The March edition of the Circus of the Spineless blog carnival is up and the Blennywatcher is pleased to be included. Head over to the Dragonfly Woman‘s site for a selection of of fun invert stuff: Circus of the Spineless # 71
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.
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