Marine life behavior

Carry crab w:banana Ned DeLoach

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 Striated Frogfish by Ned DeLoach for

Spawning Frogfish

March 18, 2013

This image of spawning Striated Frogfish is not new. We wrote about our 2009 Blue Heron Bridge adventure in Alert Diver Magazine in an article we called “Caught in the Act” (you can click here to read it online). We were lucky to get the photos and video – it was a combination of being in the right place at the right time and recognizing what was about to happen. I’m posting it here because I just created a Blennywatcher video channel … Read more

Razorfish Bites

March 6, 2013

Lembeh Strait, Indonesia ~ Well the table is turned. I have seen prey in the grips of toothy lizardfishes before, but never this. What is going on here? From a distance I could see Ned watching what I thought was a lizardfish (quite a predator on the reef) trying to eat a razorfish. Then I realized the razorfish was firmly clamped onto the lizardfish – quite a reversal from the expected. Ned had a better angle and was able to … 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

Carry Crab with nudibranch Anna DeLoach

Nudibranch’s Bad Day

February 8, 2013

Happy Friday! The photo above is an Urchin Carry Crab (Dorippe frascone) doing what it is supposed to do: carry an urchin for camouflage – that’s how it got its common name. These particular crabs of the family Dorippidae, have modified back legs that they use to grip the urchins or other assorted matter like leaves or discarded shells. They are muck diving icons – we see them on many dives. Below is a picture of a crab that has … Read more

Papery stomatella Ned DeLoach


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

Blenny and Mimic Ned DeLoach

Mimicry: The Blenny and the Bream

January 3, 2013

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

Frogfish with eggs (Lophiocharon sp.) Anna DeLoach

Frogfish with Eggs

December 1, 2012

November 2012 ~ We have just returned from a cruise aboard the Dewi Nusantara around Batanta and Waigeo, two islands in the Raja Ampat region of eastern Indonesia. If I had to rank my top 10 favorite dives of all time, I would include a 2007 night dive off Batanta when we saw this frogfish, Lophiocharon sp., with her clutch of eggs. The only divers still in the water after a two-hour dive, we were on our way back to … Read more

Phyllodesmium rudmani nudibranch Anna DeLoach

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

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