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 Razorfish Bites
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
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 Putting a Wrasse to Bed
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 Hermit in a Bottle
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia (2007) – I was at the end of a 2-hour dive, off-gassing in about 10 feet of water and struggling to stay in place in the sudden, brisk current. I saw several juvenile Red Emperor Snappers, Lutjanus sebae bolt for a gathering of Radiant Sea Urchins, Astropyga radiata, which is not unusual since the snappers, when they are much smaller, are often found living within the spines of theses urchins. Then I noticed the urchins were spawning! … Read more Radiant Sea Urchins Spawning
Sulawesi, Indonesia – Ned was working on a slide presentation, so I buddied up with our friend Jessica Hatsfelt for the afternoon dive. The boat moored in the center of a small sandy bay that had very little in the way of critter habitat – only an occasional small patch of sea grass. Hanny, our Eco Divers guide, led us over the sand and along a slope, pausing for a pipefish and nudibranch or two until we ended … Read more Ride ‘Em Frogfish!