ABOUT

Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last ten years documenting life above and below water in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. He is currently working with the Smithsonian Institution documenting new Caribbean deep-water species and building a one of a kind database. His underwater images can regularly be seen in Sport Diver, Scuba Diver and on the Ikelite website. His image of a "Collage of Corals" seen under blue-light at night recently placed in the TOP 10 images for the 2014 NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) photo contest.

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Mar 27, 15     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends, sorry about not posting yesterday but I got busy and then just ran out of time. I have a fun blue-light photo for you all today with Aimee as the star all decked out in her new Ikelite yellow glasses and her camera completely decked out in Ikelite blue-light fluorescent gear! So for those of you non-divers trying hard to figure out what is going on here let me try to better explain. What we are doing is putting blue-filters over our normal white light flashes, putting a yellow filter over the lens, wearing yellow glasses over our masks and using the white light VEGA’S (Ikelite video lights) as our main search lights, which also have blue filters screwed onto them. By doing all this you can now go out onto the reef at night and see the reef in a whole new light! All the corals fluoresce as you see above and the giant anemones are super bright and beautiful! Some corals like the plate corals (right side) glow a beautiful yellowish red color and also all the different algae produces some kind of beautiful color although many times it’s hard to photograph. Make sure to crank up your camera’s ISO to 1000 or higher and adjust your exposure compensation button to +3.0 or higher, you have to do this to get as much light out of your camera as possible because your blocking so much of it with those dark blue filters over the strobes. Aimee tends to be a major big help on my dives with holding a VEGA light with the blue filter over my subject so I can focus easier and faster, if you sit there lighting something up for too long the polyps with close (your scaring/disturbing it) and you will have to go to the next one or come back later.

Looking for something different? Tired of night diving? Fluorescence will give you a whole new perspective on the world beneath the waves. With our line of excitation and barrier filters, you can convert your existing lights into a fluorescence set-up. No need to purchase expensive specialty lights or guided dives. Be the explorer!

About Fluorescence………

To see this underwater, you’ll need a light with an “excitation filter” attached AND “barrier filters” attached to both your mask and camera system. What you’ll generally see is a glow emitted from a variety of corals and animals, mostly in greens, blues, and reds. You may find two of the same type of corals—one which fluoresces, and one which doesn’t. Dive your favorite spots in a different light and see what you’ve been missing!

Fluorescence is technically the photon emitted as an electron relaxes from its excited state to its ground state. In layman’s terms, it’s the glowing you are familiar with in glow sticks, jellyfish, and forensics. A variety of organisms and materials above and below water exhibit fluorescence—often with the introduction of a particular wavelength of light.

Fluorescence photography may be captured during the day by experimenting with using a very powerful, filtered light source and under-exposing the ambient light.

Check out all their new products here and get back into night diving, this will for sure change the way you see the reef!

http://www.ikelite.com/accessories/fluorescence/

I have another busy weekend ahead, doing a super long bike ride on Sunday and playing with the dogs tomorrow. Hope you all are doing well, thanks for all the mails….

Cheers, Barry

Mar 25, 15     Comments (0)

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Hi friends, I have a beautiful frogfish I found awhile back at close to 100 feet near the famous “Tugboat” dive site located at Caracasbaai. Like Sea horses and Batfish these animals are VERY hard to find because of their unique ability to blend into their environment! Most frogfish LOVE sponges, these are considered the Holy Grail of animals to find while diving so folks start looking at sponges more closely!

Frogfish are considered bottom dwellers. They have the unique ability to mimic surrounding sponges by varying its background hue to match that of the dominant sponge in the area. It also has multiple ocellii (eye-like markings) that look like the openings in a sponge. The frogfish uses its stalked pectoral fins and its pelvic fins to slowly “walk” across the bottom. Frogfishes have been observed inflating themselves by filling their stomachs with air or water. This is a solitary species found in small populations. It is the most common frogfish species in the West Indies and harmless to humans.

These fish are a short, fat, globular species, it generally does not exceed 8 in (20 cm), though 5 in (13 cm) is seldom exceeded. Its skin is thick and covered in highly modified scales called dermal spicules. These spicules are prickly in appearance and resemble the warts of a toad. The frogfish has small eyes, a very large mouth that is directed upwards, and pectoral fins situated on stalks. The gill openings are very small and located behind the pectoral fins. The basic color of the longlure frogfish is highly variable, ranging from pale yellow to bright red or dark green to reddish brown. Black spots are scattered across the body no matter what the base color. Multiocellatus means “many eye-like spots” in Latin. It also has a phase where the body is completely black, except for the ends of the paired fins which are white, and for a pale area that resembles a saddle on the back. The second and third dorsal spines are separate from the others and covered in thick skin.

A unique feature of the frogfish family is that the eggs are spawned encapsulated in a buoyant mass of mucus, referred to as an “egg raft”. This structure may serve as a transport of moving a large number of eggs over a large geographical distances. Spawning can be dangerous for the frogfish due to the cannibalistic nature of the species. The male and female march across the bottom before spawning, with the female leading and the male close behind. His snout usually is in immediate contact with her vent. The female is bloated with eggs during this time, often swelling to twice her normal size. The pair will then make a dash to the surface and the egg mass bursts from the female. The frogfish may spawn several times over a few weeks.

A voracious ambush predator, it feeds mainly on fishes, but also on crabs and mantis shrimp. The name “longlure” is refers to the elongated illicium which acts as a fishing lure. The illicium is the first spine of the dorsal fin, highly modified into a long rod with a lure (esca) at the end. In most species, the esca looks like potential prey, such as a worm, crustacean, or even a fish. The frogfish will lie in a sponge and wait for a fish to swim by. It will then wiggle the lure around to attract the prey. It is capable of swallowing a fish that is larger in size than itself. Like a recreational human angler, the frogfish will move to a different location if no fish are biting. The frogfish is reported to be the fastest animal alive. It can move and suck in prey at speeds as quickly as 0.006 seconds, so only high-speed film can catch the action.

Trying to recover this morning from a miserable 2o mile mountain bike ride last night! I started at around 4:00 in close to 100 degree temps, good thing I put a cold pack inside my camelback or I most likely would have passed out! My new weekly loop takes around 2 hours and it covers every trail on this side of the island, many are too difficult for most riders and if you fall you will for sure get hurt.

Doing a night dive tonight with Aimee, we will be testing out the new Ikelite UV setup so stay tuned for those photos tomorrow!

Have a wonderful day…

Barry

Mar 24, 15     Comments (0)

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Good morning from dry Curacao! For the past few days I have been photographing our large population of Green Iguana’s that we have right in front of our house. In front of our driveway we have a large 8 foot wall and behind that is desert and all the trees and bushes are filled with iguanas. For years we have been tossing our banana peels and fruit cuttings over the wall to them and we have a large saucer of water available that is just for them as well, so in a big way we have created this iguana paradise. The photo at the top shows one of our iguana’s eating a piece of papaya which is for sure one of their favorite foods.

The tourists here enjoy these creatures more than any other animal on the island, I see them being photographed nearly all day long all over at the Sea Aquarium! Green, or common, iguanas are among the largest lizards in the Americas, averaging around 6.5 feet (2 meters) long and weighing about 11 pounds (5 kilograms).

The green iguana’s extensive range comprises the rain forests of northern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and southern Brazil. They spend most of their lives in the canopy, descending only infrequently to mate, lay eggs, or change trees.

Primarily herbivores, iguanas are active during the day, feeding on leaves, flowers, and fruit. They generally live near water and are excellent swimmers. If threatened, they will leap from a branch, often from great heights, and escape with a splash to the water below. They are also tough enough to land on solid ground from as high as 40 feet (12 meters) and survive.

Iguanas’ stout build gives them a clumsy look, but they are fast and agile on land. They have strong jaws with razor-sharp teeth and sharp tails, which make up half their body length and can be used as whips to drive off predators. They can also detach their tails if caught and will grow another without permanent damage.

Have a wonderful day….

Barry

Mar 23, 15     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends, I finally have some photos of our four juvenile red footed tortoise’s in their new home at Abaai Resort, one of the most beautiful “Bed and Breakfast” places here in Curacao! 

http://www.abaai-resort.com/

The top photo shows the whole turtle enclosure/habitat that Frank (the owner) and I built over the past few weeks complete with two pools, big palm fronds to hide under and two water tight condos to hide in during the nights. Frank ordered a large truck load of giant stones which he pushed in load by load with his wheel-barrow and I put them in place. After breakfast they usually head straight to one of the palm fronds and hang out under them for the day, both photo 3 and 5 show them under these fronds when I went looking for them. We originally got these turtles from Stijn as little babies and for the last few years have been looking all over the island for a better home. Not only do these guys have their new fun home they also have a yard with green grass that the owners have been putting them in during the late afternoons, combine this with a water hose and your in turtle heaven! 

Red-footed tortoises (Chelonoidis carbonaria) are tortoises from northern South America. They are medium-sized tortoises that generally average 30 centimeters (12 in) as adults, but can reach over 40 cm (16 in). They have a dark-colored loaf-shaped carapace (back shell) with a lighter patch in the middle of each scute (scales on the shell), and dark limbs with brightly colored scales that range from pale yellow to dark red. There are recognized differences between red-footed tortoises from different regions. They are closely related to the yellow-footed tortoise (C. denticulata) from the Amazon Basin. They are popularly kept as pets, and over-collection has caused them to be vulnerable to extinction.

Their natural habitat ranges from savannah to forest-edges around the Amazon Basin. They are omnivorous with a diet based on a wide assortment of plants- mostly fruit when available, but also including grasses, flowers, fungi, carrion, and invertebrates. They do not brumate but may aestivate in hot, dry weather.

Eggs, hatchling, and young tortoises are food for many predators but the main threats for adults are jaguars and humans. Population density ranges from locally common to very scarce due in part to habitat destruction and over-collection for food and the pet trade.

Have a great day…

Barry

Mar 20, 15     Comments (0)

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Good afternoon from Curacao! I’m busy in the deep-water lab today cleaning out my old photo aquariums and running around town buying some new ones. The aquariums themselves are in good working order and can be used for other things I just can’t use them to do photos in any more because of fine scratches on the front. When you combine a 105 macro lens with a Nikon D-800 and shoot at F-40 through the glass you pick up every little detail including fine scratches that look like they are on the fish but they are from the glass. That’s why it’s just easier to replace them regularly so you don’t have to spend hours working in Photoshop removing unwanted lines. 

My two Banded Coral Shrimps, Stenopus hispidus are still hanging out in the same vase sponge for months now, I stop and say hi to them every time I swim by. They are getting so used to seeing me that they now race up from the bottom of their sponge and greet me at the top, they are so cool and very colorful! 

 Stenopus hispidus is a shrimp-like decapod crustacean belonging to the infraorder Stenopodidea. Common names include banded coral shrimp and banded cleaner shrimp

Stenopus hispidus has a pan-tropical distribution, extending into some temperate areas. It is found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Canada to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico. In Australia, it is found as far south as Sydney and it also occurs around New Zealand

Stenopus hispidus reaches a total length of 60 millimetres (2.4 in), and has striking coloration. The ground colour is transparent, but the carapace, abdomen and the large third pereiopod are all banded red and white. The antennae and other pereiopods are white. The abdomen, carapace and third pereiopods are covered in spines.

Stenopus hispidus lives below the intertidal zone, at depth of up to 210 meters (690 ft), on coral reefs. It is a cleaner shrimp, and advertises to passing fish by slowly waving its long, white antennae. S. hispidus uses its three pairs of claws to remove parasites, fungi and damaged tissue from the fish. Stenopus hispidus is monogamous.

I have another busy weekend on tap with trail cleaning, dog walks, turtle photo shoots, build another turtle cave, long bike ride, go diving and on and on….

See you monday!

Barry

Mar 19, 15     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends! Our friends at Ikelite have just introduced a whole new line of products for all your blue-light diving needs. The photo above shows my Nikon D-300s all set up and ready to go. I have the Yellow Barrier Filter over my 105 macro lens, two Dichroic Excitation Filters over each of my DS-160′s strobes, a VEGA Video/photo light with a Dichroic Excitation Filter (to search with), a pair of Yellow Barrier Filter for the dive mask and my trusty Gamma LED (white light) which I use for an aid in focusing.

Ikelite sums it up pretty well with this…

Looking for something different? Tired of night diving? Fluorescence will give you a whole new perspective on the world beneath the waves. With our line of excitation and barrier filters, you can convert your existing lights into a fluorescence set-up. No need to purchase expensive specialty lights or guided dives. Be the explorer!

About Fluorescence

To see this underwater, you’ll need a light with an “excitation filter” attached AND “barrier filters” attached to both your mask and camera system. What you’ll generally see is a glow emitted from a variety of corals and animals, mostly in greens, blues, and reds. You may find two of the same type of corals—one which fluoresces, and one which doesn’t. Dive your favorite spots in a different light and see what you’ve been missing!

Fluorescence is technically the photon emitted as an electron relaxes from its excited state to its ground state. In layman’s terms, it’s the glowing you are familiar with in glow sticks, jellyfish, and forensics. A variety of organisms and materials above and below water exhibit fluorescence—often with the introduction of a particular wavelength of light.

Fluorescence photography may be captured during the day by experimenting with using a very powerful, filtered light source and under-exposing the ambient light.

Check out all their new products here and get back into night diving, this will for sure change the way you see the reef!

http://www.ikelite.com/accessories/fluorescence/

Have a wonderful day…

Barry

Mar 18, 15     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends, I’m off to a late start, had to do a quick dive to check a leaking housing that will now have to be sent off for repair.

I have a drop dead beautiful colony of Grooved Brain Coral for you all today just sitting all by itself on a sandy plateau with no other corals in sight! These have to be some of the coolest looking corals on the planet, they can be found in the 3-135 foot range and can grow to be about four feet wide, this one here was about three. Grooved Brain coral colonies are known for forming beautiful hemispherical heads just like you see above. They have deep, often narrow, polyp bearing valleys that are separated by broad ridges with wide conspicuous trough-like grooves. The width and depth of the grooves vary greatly from colony to colony but are always obvious and usually make the ridge appear as two. The valleys are highly convoluted and often interconnected. Most colonies are tan to yellow-brown or brown to brownish-gray. I have heard folks call these “Depressed Brain Coral” and “Labyrinthine Brain Coral”, we just call them GROOVY!

Got in a nice 20 mile ride last night before dark and as usual it was super hot! The turtles are doing great in their new home, I will do a photo shoot this weekend and have that for you on monday.

Lots to do….

Barry

Mar 17, 15     Comments (0)

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Hello one and all, how is your week treating you?? I know I promised you tortoise photos today but we got out there too late in the day yesterday to make pictures, so like everything, it will have to wait a few more days. I made two large caves out of big rubber tubs “flipped upside down” that I am using as their night-time sleeping/safety area which are sealed at night (with plenty of air-holes). This way no rats or anything can bother them while they are sleeping and they will be safe during a hard rain.

Here’s a colorful photo of a big school of Blue Tangs cruising through the reef with a single goatfish (yellow fish) trying hard to blend in. I really had quite a laugh underwater watching this single goatfish, it’s like he always wanted to be a blue tang and figured they wouldn’t even notice if he hung out with them. We see these large groups called “aggregations” on the reef here every single day and I still never seem to get tired of it, they are just so beautiful. Adult blue tangs have three social modes: territorial, wandering, and schooling. Territorial adults defend their home rage from other members of the species. Schooling adults are not aggressive. Wanderer adults are not aggressive nor do they interact with other individuals like schooling fish do. Wanderers are mostly chased by other fish including Ocean surgeonfish and damselfishes. Occasionally, Blue Tangs form large multi-species aggregations with other surgeonfishes as seen above.

Blue tangs may benefit from forming schools for two reasons. First, individuals may experience lower rates of predation when feeding in large groups. Second, by feeding in groups, fish might be able to work together to overcome the territorial defenses of other fishes. For example, a single blue tang is easily chased away by an aggressive damselfish defending its territory. However, when a large school of blue tangs and their schoolmates try to feed on algae in a damselfish’s territory, there is little that the damselfish can do.  When this occurs, the damselfish frantically, but ultimately fruitlessly, attempts to chase away their more numerous attackers while the school consumes all of the algae in their territories.

Blue tangs are active during the day, hiding in crevices on the reef at night to avoid predators.

Juvenile blue tangs are solitary and occupy home ranges that increase with body size. Juveniles aggressively defend their home ranges from juvenile ocean surgeonfish. Juveniles also avoid damselfishes that overlap in range with them.

I think Aimee and I are diving tonight with the blue-lights after cycling but who knows, plans change quickly here!

See ya…

Barry

Mar 16, 15     Comments Off

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Good morning friends, I have three different colored Trumpetfish, Aulostomus maculatus for your viewing pleasure today, all found on one dive in front of the Sea Aquarium. These are the three main colors we have here in Curacao with yellow being the harder of the three to find and yellow being the harder to approach for some reason?? The top photo shows our red trumpetfish being cleaned by a juvenile French butterflyfish (black and yellow striped) and there is even a little goby on his back. 

Trumpetfish are long-bodied fish with an upturned mouth and often swim vertically while trying to blend with vertical coral, such as sea rods, sea pens, and pipe sponges. They are widespread throughout the tropical waters of western Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Brazil including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Trumpetfish occur in waters between 0.5 and 30 meters (1.6 and 100 feet) deep, and can grow to 40 to 80 cm (15 to 31 in) in length. They are sometimes locally abundant over coral atoll reefs or in lagoons, where they may be caught even in areas of severe wave action. The spawning habits of the trumpetfish are unknown, but in the region around Madeira, the females are known to have mature eggs from March to June.

Trumpetfish are closely related to cornetfish which are rarely seen in Curacao. Trumpetfish can be a bit more than 36 inches (3 ft) long and have greatly elongated bodies with small jaws at the front end of their long, tubular snouts. The gills are pectinate, resembling the teeth of a comb, and a soft dorsal fin is found near the tail fin. A series of spines occurs in front of the dorsal fin. Trumpetfish vary in color from dark brown to greenish, but also yellow in some areas. A black streak, sometimes reduced to a dark spot, occurs along the jaw, and a pair of dark spots is sometimes found on the base of the tail fin.

Trumpetfish swim slowly, sneaking up on unsuspecting prey, or lying motionless like a floating stick, swaying back and forth with the wave action of the water. They are adept at camouflaging themselves and often swim in alignment with other, larger fishes. They feed almost exclusively on small fish, such as wrasses and Atheriniformes, by sucking them suddenly into their small mouths.

I had a crazy busy weekend!! Last night was the first night my four tortoises slept in their new home, I more or less worried about them all night! I called this morning first thing and all is going great, will run out there today and take some photos and try to post it for tomorrows blog.

I have to get to the water…

Have a wonderful day.

Barry

Mar 13, 15     Comments Off

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Good afternoon readers, sorry for the no blog yesterday, I took the day off with Aimee to get some more work done on the new tortoise habitat we are building over at a friends house, it’s almost ready! I’m hoping we can deliver the turtles saturday but we still have a bunch to do and yes for those of you asking I will take some pictures. 

I have a SUPER old photo for you all today of my buddy Gordy at “last light” or dusk hovering over the reef looking for that one last photo! When I moved to Curacao I knew how to operate a camera but had many doubts about taking it underwater but Gordy helped show me the way! Not only did he explain how one loads a camera into an underwater housing he also gave me some underwater camera settings that I still use today, I really would have been lost without him! Gordy or G-Man as I call him has since retired from this field and has not been in the water for years, he spends a lot of his time scanning old photos and working on the thousands of “keepers” that he will eventually have for sale. The photo above reminds me of a flooded Earth with a diver swimming over Devils Tower in Wyoming, and no I’m not drinking, I’m just strange!

I just got out of the water playing with our mini-submersible, thank-goodness the wind has died down a bit!

Have a great weekend out there, be back soon!!

Barry

Mar 11, 15     Comments Off

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Bon Dia from Curacao! I have a cool Peacock Flounder for you all today that I photographed as he swam under me gliding down the reef to his next resting area. As many of you know we have a bunch of fish that are always in the same areas and can easily be found, this is one of them. Do I have names for them?? Well no, but I’m thinking I should, many have been here for so long and they are so used to me that I am able to get very close. 

The peacock flounder is also called flowery flounder because it is covered in superficially flower-like bluish spots. As suggested by the family name, lefteye flounders have both eyes on top of the left hand side of their heads. The eyes are raised up on short stumps like radar dishes, and can move in any direction independent of each other. That feature provides flounders with a wide range of view. One eye can look forward while the other looks backward at the same time. The baby flounders have one eye on each side of their bodies like ordinary fish, and swim like other fishes do, but later on, as they are becoming adult, the right eye moves to the left side, and flounders start to swim sideways, which gives them the ability to settle down flat on the bottom. The maximum length of this flounder is about 45 centimetres (18 in).

Peacock flounders are mostly found in shallow water on sandy bottoms. Sometimes they rest over piles of dead corals or bare rock. They may be found as deep as 150 meters (490 ft).

As most flounders, the peacock flounder is mainly nocturnal,but is sometimes also active during the day. It hunts for small fishes, crabs and shrimps.

Like all flounders, peacock flounders are masters of camouflage. They use cryptic coloration to avoid being detected by both prey and predators. Whenever possible rather than swim they crawl on their fins along the bottom while constantly changing colors and patterns. In a study, peacock flounders demonstrated the ability to change colors in just eight seconds. They were even able to match the pattern of a checkerboard they were placed on. The changing of the colors is an extremely complex and not well understood process. It involves the flounder’s vision and hormones. The flounders match the colors of the surface by releasing different pigments to the surface of the skin cells while leaving some of the cells white by suppressing those pigments. If one of the flounder’s eyes is damaged or covered by sand, the flounders have difficulties in matching their colors to their surroundings. Whenever hunting or hiding from predators, the flounders bury themselves into the sand leaving only the eyes protruding.

The wind is still blowing like crazy and I think today is supposed to be even worse? I went for a 20 mile ride last night and pretty much got blown away! I tried to ride trails that were in semi protected areas but the second I popped out into an open area it was like sitting on a stationary bike pedaling like crazy! 

Off to the sea……..

Barry

Mar 10, 15     Comments Off

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Good morning from one of the windiest places on the planet! Today and tomorrow we are expected to have insane winds here which is great for keeping the mosquitos away but bad for walking, diving and biking!

I have a mega beautiful Redlip Blenny, Ophioblennius macclurei sitting so patiently on the edge of a little overhang letting me take his or her photo, it was great! Normally these fish are very shy and although they will return to their same roost time after time it usually takes a lot of waiting and trying to gain their trust! Here in Curacao these little shallow water fish are found in two color variations. One is the reddish brown color (above) and the other is a beautiful grey with a red head but only the reddish brown one has the sexy Revlon colored lips! These fish can reach a maximum size of about five inches but rarely do I ever see them that big. They seem to prefer shallow water even if it’s rough, I see them often in the 1 to 35 foot zone.

Redlip blennies reproduce year-round in the ten days before and four days after the full moon in each month. The male and female pair up in the first three hours of daylight, and the female moves to the male territory. The male has to prepare a nest for depositing eggs. In order to prepare a nest, the male makes a “small box-like” space in its territory and removes coral rubble and dead algae crusts from the space. One male redlip blenny usually has five nests, and the amount of time he spends at each nest is determined by how much the nest is favored by females. Usually the most favored nest has a larger inner surface area and volume than the less favored ones. When a female redlip blenny enters a male’s nest, the female chooses whether or not to mate with the male. Larger males with larger nests have better chance of successful mating than smaller males with smaller nests. During spawning seasons, males reduce their feeding. The eggs are deposited in a single layer, and the male guards and cares for the eggs by blowing air onto them until they hatch as planktonic larvae. The egg batches in one nest may be at different developmental stages because the male redlip blenny is polygynous, mating with multiple females. In other words, the eggs have different mothers. Female redlip blennies tend to be polyandrous as well, meaning that there are multiple nests with one female’s eggs.

Female mate choice primarily relies on the male’s genetic quality (aka. how good his gene is) and/or his non-genetic quality. A male is recognized to have a good gene, if he has physical features that are suitable for survival. Usually, big body size indicates good genetic quality. Mating with a male of good genetic quality assures that the offspring will also have good genes and thus the physical features favorable for survival. This eventually will propagate the female’s own genes. The non-genetic quality includes many examples, such as a good parental care. A good parental care does not guarantee good genes for the offspring. However, a good parental care can increase the survival rate of the offspring, thereby spreading the female’s genes.

Female redlip blennies consider both the genetic and non-genetic quality of the male. First of all, they choose males largely based on their sizes (genetic quality). Larger males can better protect the female and the eggs against predators. Furthermore, larger male redlip blennies have larger antimicrobial organs at their anal-urogenital regions, which they use to prevent microbial infection in the eggs. Female redlip blennies also consider males’ allopaternal care when choosing mates (non-genetic quality). Allopaternal care proves to the female that the male is capable of protecting the eggs from predators. Finally, a statistical study showed that female redlip blennies may prefer older males because the age of the male could reflect his survival ability and thus guarantee the offspring better fitness (chance of survival).

The submersible is headed out in search of rare fish, I may jump in and shoot a new school of baby squids that we have here now but with the wind creating these big swells that may be difficult.

Have a great day…..

Barry

Mar 9, 15     Comments Off

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Good morning all, I have a very tiny, super cute “yes, fish can be cute” juvenile Spotted Drum for you all today. Finding these newborns on any given dive is always a major bonus and photographing them is usually not that difficult. Drums are very territorial and even as babies they will not go far from their home, they just swim in circles all day long in one spot seemingly unafraid of everything! I have seen these tiny babies swimming right in front of giant eels and groupers and never were they in danger? That tall “pole like” dorsal fin you see on top of the head will get much longer and start looking like a sail, it’s truly one of our coolest fish on the Caribbean reef. Once this little drum reaches adulthood it will have a much bigger body with a beautiful spotted tail. It will also have a black stripe across the eye making the eyeball very hard to see and it’s pec fins will become much smaller than what see you see here. Drums reach a maximum size of about 11 inches, this one here was less than a inch!

I spent the weekend working on the new home for our four red footed tortoises which should be done and ready for them to move in by this next weekend, we can hardly wait!!!

I got in a fast 25 mile ride yesterday, it was windy and hot and very uneventful!

I have a dive with the submersible soon, I need to get ready!

Have a great day…

Barry

Mar 6, 15     Comments Off

Dive Bus 1 Dive Bus 2

Good morning friends, I get hundreds of mails each month from people I don’t even know saying they are coming to Curacao and asking who would I recommend for their diving needs?? Well, that’s an easy one, just ask your friends at Trip Advisor and they will tell you to head to the World famous “The Dive Bus” the hands down BEST, most FUN dive company in Curacao! As of this week they are sporting around in a beautiful new ride showing the owner Mark (in black) up front on the drivers side and if you go around to the other side you will find Mark’s better half Suzy (in red) sitting right by his side on every dive adventure they make. When visiting Curacao some of the other dive shops may tell you that you can only do boat dives here but this is not true, some of our best dives can be done from shore. The Dive Bus offers THE BEST shore diving adventures on the island and they are by far the most fun group of divers you may ever find! If your looking to get any kind of PADI certifications or you just want to rent tanks, gear or buy some fun gifts look no further, this is one stop shopping at it’s finest, tell them Barry sent you!

You have to watch this fun clip on how the new Dive Bus-Van was born, such a fun video and super fun people, this is why folks keep coming back!!

http://www.the-dive-bus.com

I have to be in the water soon, hope you all have a great weekend!!

Later, Barry

Mar 5, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Good morning from wet Curacao! Yes, we are finally getting rain and it is great!

I have a beautiful little colony of Pillar Corals, Dendrogyra cylindrus for you all today that I found last year at my favorite dive site on the island, Whatamulla which is located near the western tip of the island and is only accessible by boat. These spectacular “pillar-like” stony corals grow straight up and can reach a length of about 10 feet, that’s a tall coral! I normally see these in the 35-50 foot range but they can be found as deep as 65 foot and as shallow as 4, that’s quite a difference in depth.

Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindricus) is a hard coral or stony coral (order Scleractinia) found in the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is a digitate coral -that is, it resembles fingers (Latin digites) or a cluster of cigars, growing up from the sea floor without any secondary branching. It is large and can grow on both flat and sloping surfaces at depths down to 20 m (65 ft). It is one of the few types of hard coral in which the polyps can commonly be seen feeding during the day.

Pillar coral forms an encrusted base from which grow vertical cylindrical, round-ended columns. This coral can grow to a height of 3 m (10 ft) with pillars more than 10 cm (4 in) wide but is usually much smaller than this. The corallites from which the polyps protrude are smaller than 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter and arranged in shallow meandering valleys with low ridges in between. The skeleton of the coral is not usually visible because the polyps are typically extended during the daytime, unlike most other coral species. The mass of undulating tentacles gives the coral a furry appearance. This coral is usually some shade of beige or brown.

We have 2 submersible dives today, one this morning and another this afternoon with guests flying over from Bonaire, will be a busy day!

See you later…

Barry

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