Marine life behavior

Graysby, Cephalopholis cruentata

Grumpy Graysbys

April 15, 2012

Graysbys are small Caribbean seabasses that are fairly solitary. We noticed that they are much more active during the same week that the corals spawn and it is a good time to see fighting fish action. Some times they lunged at each other, sometimes they just stared each other down, then one or the other would take off to join a waiting fish, presumably a female. We were fairly certain the battles were territorial wars connected to spawning activities, but … Read more

Juvenile French Angelfish

Cute Fish Video: French Angelfish

April 8, 2012

  Bonaire, 2008 – The juvenile French Angelfish, Pomacanthus paru, had taken up residence in a piece of wreckage, turning the unsightly structure into a cleaning station – a location that fish know they can visit to have parasites removed. Shrimps and fishes that make their living picking parasites and injured tissue from other fish are known as cleaners. We knelt in the sand for about half an hour, watching bar jacks buzz in for a quick visit. The angelfish … Read more

Yellowhead Jawfish releases hatching eggs ©2012 Ned DeLoach

Hatching Jawfish!

March 25, 2012

  Note:  This post was republished on April 23, 2021 to include more information about our experience. The updated story is here: https://www.blennywatcher.com/2021/04/23/yellowhead-jawfish-hatching-eggs/ Bonaire, 2009 – A jawfish releasing its eggs – we finally got the shot – and it only took fifteen years! We fell in love with jawfish back in 1995 when we were working on the Reef Fish Behavior book. In fact, the first magazine article that Ned and I wrote together for Ocean Realm magazine was … Read more

Striped Catfish, Plotosus lineatus, Bluespotted Trevally, Caranx bucculentus ©2012 Ned DeLoach

A Case of Mimicry: Jacks with Catfish

March 18, 2012

Lembeh Strait, Indonesia, March 2011 – I recently posted about my love/obsession with Striped Catfish, Plotosus lineatus. The video that accompanies that post includes clips of soapfish, jacks and even a lionfish feeding alongside the rolling ball of catfish; taking advantage of the disturbance. Ned just rolls his eyes whenever he sees me following yet another swarm. That’s why I was surprised when one of our dive buddies came flying down the reef, gesturing for me to swim back toward … Read more

Gulf Signal Blenny

Blenny Bonanza

March 17, 2012

Sea of Cortez, 2002 – We chartered a six-passenger liveaboard dive boat for a week to explore the area just outside La Paz. The captain/owner was just getting started and didn’t know the sites all that well, but was willing to explore, so our dives ranged from all out flops to some real winners. The mangrove lagoon off Isla San Jose, described by John Steinbeck in his classic Sea of Cortez, proved to be the perfect place for critter hunting … Read more

Midnight Parrotfish gather at dusk

Parrotfish Hotel

March 15, 2012

Last evening I participated in an awesome REEF Fishinar, entitled “Perplexing Parrotfish.” These free online classes, taught by REEF instructors, range from basic fish identification to more advanced topics like cryptic Caribbean species. The class inspired me to pull up some footage from an interesting parrotfish observation that we saw in Bimini in 1995, then again in 2008 in Key Largo. In a previous post I described wrasses diving into the sand at dusk to bed down for the night. That … Read more

Putting a Wrasse to Bed

March 9, 2012

Bimini, 1995 – I noticed something unusual – a group of Yellowhead Wrasse (Halichoeres garnoti), including several normally solitary terminal phase males swimming together in a tight little group near the bottom. We were making a dusk dive at Turtle Rocks, looking for fish spawning action. We had already spent many afternoons watching the Yellowheads spawn. This little group was swimming with purpose, but it didn’t look like spawning. They swam a regular pattern for over twenty minutes, visiting several … Read more

DeLoach - Hermit in a bottle

Hermit in a Bottle

March 1, 2012

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

Anemonefish hiding from predatory jack

If I Can’t See You…

February 27, 2012

  Indonesia (2004) – We spent the better part of 4 days in a shallow grass bed watching a shoal of squid mating and laying eggs down in the grass. We could not predict when they would show up and even more frustrating, they would spook and disappear for anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. This made for a lot of time underwater, just waiting. During the long waits, I amused myself by watching an anemonefish bury itself into its host anemone … Read more

Hatching Sea Turtles

February 23, 2012

  August 2007, Bonaire – We had just arrived on the island when the call came from our dear friend TC Panecaldo. She knew we had just checked into Buddy Dive, our home for the next five weeks, but would we like to see hatching turtles? A friend from Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire was monitoring a nest and was willing to let us ride over to Klein Bonaire but we would have to leave right away to make it in … Read more