ABOUT

Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last 12 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.

General

Archive for May, 2017

May 31, 17     Comments Off on Tiny, Deep-Sea Gobies, Pinnichthys sp. Deep Goby

May 30, 17     Comments Off on RARE, Deep-Sea Scorpionfish, Scorpaena sp, Expeditions

Good morning out there, if your like us your recovering from a long but fun Memorial day weekend. We ate like kings, did a bunch of fun hikes with the dogs, went mountain biking with friends, roller-blading and on and on, wiped out!

I have a tiny inch and a half scorpionfish for you all today found by our science friends at  this little museum called the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, maybe you heard of it?? Over the years I have seen so many different species of rare, deep-sea scorpaena sp. come up from the deep and if you all remember one of these species was even named after yours truly, that little fish can be seen by clicking on the link found on the front of my home page. Scorpionfish for those of you new to this are “ambush hunters” meaning they find a place to hide and will lay there motionless for hours upon hours waiting for some poor little fish, shrimp or crab to pass by. Most scorpionfish also called rockfish blend in with their surroundings so well that even a diver can not see them mostly because they are covered in algae or change their colors to look like the surroundings, this one here on the other hand is about as bright as they come and apparently feels there’s no need to wear camo when out fishing. This was another amazing find from the deep-sea found by a submersible and collected by the Smithsonian off a little Caribbean island called St. Eustatius.

Have a wonderful day..

Barry

May 26, 17     Comments Off on Bathyanthias sp, Small Deep Sea Fish, Submersibles

Good morning out there, I am completely wiped out this morning after doing two big mountain bike rides, one in the morning and one in the evening, combined that’s around four hours worth of hard pedaling.

So today I have a little three inch long Bathyanthias sp for today, the “sp.” means this could again be a new species and until our favorite Smithsonian scientists do DNA work they really don’t know. These creatures and fish I post are super rare and most have either only been found dead or are not know yet at all because of the insane depth they come from. Take this guy above for instance , put Bathyanthias sp in your GOOGLE search and very little will come up, why you ask?? Because it’s fairly new to science or it’s just plain never been found before, this is why I love working for the Smithsonian Institution. I believe this is a species of sea-bass if I remember correctly but don’t quote me on that or anything else for that matter.

Have yourself a wonderful weekend, I will get more stuff ready for you to see by Monday, I promise.

Cheers. Barry

 

May 25, 17     Comments Off on Decodon puellaris, Deep-Sea Hogfish, Colorful Fish

Here’s a WOWZERS fish for you all this morning called a Decodon puellaris or a deep-sea red hogfish and this is the juvenile of that species. When older this crazy colorful little fish will loose a lot of these colors and markings and turn a dark orange or reddish color, still beautiful but nothing like his or her baby colors. For those of you wondering about size, this one here is about three inches in length. These fish are incredible little hunters and love brittle stars, crabs, shrimps and urchins, in fact it’s fish like this that keep most of the invertebrates hidden on the reef most of the day. On many occasions I have seen these fish picking on and trying to eat hermit crabs as well, they are true reef bullies and not as nice as they appear to be. This was another in the long list of cool finds from St. Eustatius a few weeks ago found by the Smithsonian and Substation Curacao.

have a great day!

Barry

May 24, 17     Comments Off on Juvenile Prognathodes aculeaths, Deep-Sea Butterflyfish

Good morning all, I have a super tiny, (about the size of a dime), deep-sea butterflyfish for you all today called a Prognathodes aculeaths. For years the Smithsonian and Substation Curacao have collected the adult sized butterflyfish from the deep using a submersible but this is the first baby or juvenile I had ever seen or photographed. From Wikipedia I found this little blurb;

Longsnout butterflyfish are much more solitary than many other members of their family. They also inhabit deeper reefs and spend much of their time foraging in recesses for invertebrates. It is also known to eat the tube feet of sea urchins and tube worm tentacles. Unlike many other members of its family, the longsnout butterflyfish does not pick parasites from other fish.

I hope you all are having a great week out there, mine has been so busy!!

Cheers, Barry

May 23, 17     Comments Off on Pleurotomariidae, Slit-Shells, Rare Shells, Deep Sea Shells

Hi all, as most of you already know I have the worlds largest collection of live slit-shell photos from all over the Caribbean and now I have them from St. Eustatius. These little beauties were all found on the same trip and they looked different than others we had seen from other areas of the Caribbean, meaning they seemed smaller and lighter then normal. These were all collected by the Smithsonian Institution and Substation Curacao on their two week expedition to St. Eustatius and yours truly got to spend many a day with them with camera in hand. We did end up leaving some bigger slit shells with the St. Eustatius museum so if you visit there it may be on display. Below is a little excerpt from:

http://shells.tricity.wsu.edu/ArcherdShellCollection/Gastropoda/Pleurotomariidae.html

First illustrated by a Japanese naturalist in 1843, the slit shell family consists of top shaped shells characterized by a remarkable slit in the edge of the outer whorl. A circular operculum is present, and the slit permits discharge of the excretory stream. Sculpuring of the shell is not deep, and the reddish beading follows spiral lines. The family is largely extinct, with only sixteen species known to be still in existence. Most extant species are in the genus, Perotrochus, characterized by a shorter, wider slit; the remaining two species, in genus Entemnotrochus,  are characterized by a longer, narrow slit.  The mollusc is evolutionarily primitive and lives as a grazer, raking and filtering fine organic debris from the soft sands on the bottom where it lives. It is found in tropical and subtropical waters, typically at 400-600 foot depths. These shells are highly prized and rarely found in collections.  The Pleurotomaricacea superfamily includes in addition to the slit shells, the Scisurrellidae and Haliotidae (abalone) families, which are also primitive grazers that share many common evolutionary features.

See you tomorrow with something else new..

Barry

 

May 20, 17     Comments Off on RARE, Deep-Sea Snails/Gastropods found in Sponge

Good morning, it’s time to rise and shine and get this Monday started and I know that’s easier said than done. I posted these sexy little one-inch shells last Saturday but didn’t have time for the text, so here’s what little I know. After I did my five days of photography for the Smithsonian Institution off the coast of St. Eustatius I then started shooting photos for the SIRENAS group which involved shooting deep-sea sponges of every size color and shape one could imagine. One of these sponges was filled with these live gastropods seen above, all of the same species and about the same size, I think there was six of them if I remember correctly. I quickly collected them and took them inside to my tanks and let them loose and within a few minutes they all came out of their beautiful little shells and started exploring. This was were the photos then became more difficult because two of them immediately took off in opposite directions and the other four kind of stayed together. I tried multiple times to get the two speedy ones in my group photo but by the time I got my hands dried off and back to the camera they were already out of the photo, I ended up just leaving those two out and played with the others. The top photo really shows the face and eyes of these wonderful little creatures, they are actually very fun to watch. Again once I get a name I will change and update all these posts.

I trust or hope you all had a wonderful weekend, I’ll be back tomorrow with something else new and exciting..

Barry

May 19, 17     Comments Off on Super Tiny Juvenile Canthigaster jamestyleri, Puffer

Hello again, I have a super tiny quarter inch puffer fish for you all today called a Canthigaster jamestyleri found super deep off the coast of St. Eustatius. These puffers are very similar to the shallow species which I used to post all the time for you called a sharpnose puffer you can use the search box above to check those out and refresh the o’l memory. If disturbed like other puffers, they can inflate themselves into a small balloon which come in handy if your being eaten. Also as an added bonus, the word is underwater from prey species is that they just plain don’t taste that great any ways.

For you Twitter users we did set up a page for this expedition and it can be found by going to Twitter and typing in #StatiaExpedition2017 there you will find a whole lot more info and photos some of them being mine.

I’m crazy busy again today, sorry so short.

Barry

May 18, 17     Comments Off on GIANT Deep-Sea Crab found by Smithsonian Institution

Hello readers, I have a monster sized crab for you this morning with one of those faces that only an underwater photographer and it’s mother could love. Many of my long time followers know the love I have for any kind of crab and it’s a love that has grown or come from spending hours or days underwater photographing all kinds of crabs. I tell friends all the time that if they were to watch an octopus or squid underwater they would never eat one again, same thing goes for crabs, they are insanely fascinating to watch underwater and every species not only looks completely different but acts different as well. I apologize in advance for not having depths on all this stuff, I am in the process of getting it but that’s easier said than done, once I do get it I will go back and put that info in all the blogs. Again for those that have been with me for awhile you have seen a lot of different crabs and for those of you interested you can use my search key above to search around and see what I’m talking about. This was another fun find by the Smithsonian Institution using the deep-sea submersible from Substation Curacao and once I get a name on this guy and a depth I will do an update for you.

Have a wonderful day…

Barry

May 17, 17     Comments Off on Clingfish, Derillisus sp. Found in St. Eustatius 2017

Good morning, I have one of the smallest, hands down cutest, most colorful fish on the planet for you today called a clingfish or Derillisus sp. that was recently found two and a half miles off the coast of St, Eustatius. When I first saw this tiny quarter inch fish through my 105 macro lens I yelled out immediately “I’m in love with a clingfish”! I have for sure never seen such an adorable face on a fish before and I may never see something this cute again, I mean look at that face!! This fish was very difficult too shoot not only because of how tiny it was but because it has a little suction-cup under it’s body and it’s constantly moving and re-attaching itself to any and every object it can find. This is why they are called clingfishes because of that little suction-cup which can be seen really well in the head-on shots. The top photo is a different clingfish, I think if I remember right it was a bit larger and didn’t have the colors the juvenile had but still has those beautiful eyes and cute kissable face. On the Statia Expedition the Smithsonian Institution and Substation Curacao found 3 or 4 of these little fish and I was able to photograph most of them which usually takes about an hour per fish.

Have a wonderful day..

Barry

May 15, 17     Comments Off on Sirenas MD, Collecting Sponges for Medical Research

Good morning readers, did you all have a great weekend out there?? I trust all of you did something for your mothers or at least dropped them a line.

Today I have an exciting photo line-up from underwater of a company named SIRENAS www.sirenasmd.com recently funded by the Bill Gates foundation collecting deep-sea sponges with a submersible owned by Substation Curacao. So first off, who is SIRENAS you ask?? Here’s a little blurb from their home page but please if you have time check their site out; “Sirenas is a company with a validated drug development platform designed to bring unparalleled chemical diversity to high-value therapeutic areas. Our mission is to generate a proprietary and partnered pipeline of breakthrough drug leads. We currently specialize in the discovery and development of new chemical entities that modulate the human immune response in specific ways, with application in oncology and infectious disease”. So in short, very short, they collect sponges “for instance” in hopes of finding a cure for some of the top diseases on the planet. While in St. Eustatius a few weeks ago I spent five days with this company helping them to photograph and video the collected specimens from the deep and the variety and colors of sponges they found were mind blowing! The photos above show part of the retrieval process that happened each day two and a half miles off shore. This particular day I was shuttled out by boat in rough seas and once given the “OK” sign that the sub was directly below (at around 65 feet) I jumped in with camera in hand and joined my buddy Tico seen here collecting and bagging the sponges for transport to the surface. We both dove down into some of the clearest most beautiful water I had ever been in, I bet the visibility was at least 150 foot! Then for the next 10 minutes I photographed and watched as Tico carefully bagged each sponge for transport to the surface which as you can see from the last photo it took many bags. The reason this is done is because if the sponges were left in the basket during the two and half mile trip/tow back they would all float out. Once the sponges seen here were removed the submersible then ascended to the surface and once again was hooked up to a long rope and towed back. During the tow back the scientists are not able to get out so imagine a ride in rough seas being pulled by a small boat and NO you can not see a horizon line or the surface you are looking backwards underwater, this would make me so sick! When the sponges get back to ship, which is an hour before the sub one of the scientists from SIRENAS immediately starts with the process of logging them and bagging them while yours truly was there to photograph each and every one. One of the coolest sponges brought up was an Army green color and had the most beautiful scent in the world! In about a hour the whole ship smelled like flowers or candy, it was like a smell we all knew but no a person could pin-point it, it was truly an unforgettable experience! Once again I love sponges…

Monday, Monday, so much to do so little time…

Have a great day,

Barry

 

May 12, 17     Comments Off on GIANT Deep-Sea Ogcocephalus sp. Discovered in St. Eustatius

Good morning folks, the weirdness continues with this off the charts giant Batfish, Ogcocephalus sp. found once again two and a half miles off shore on the tiny island of St. Eustatius. One of the many things that makes this guy unique to depth is his color. In the shallow Caribbean waters all the batfish I have ever seen and photographed are either black or brown and covered in moss making them almost impossible to find, this guy or gal on the other hand stands out like a sure thumb! For a size reference there is a rusted bottle-cap under him, it stands out pretty easily as it’s the only thing not white. So what do batfish eat you ask?? Good question, I had to Google it myself and found this little blurb on the “Untamed Science” site; Like many deep sea fish, batfish are voracious carnivores. They use the modified dorsal spine as a lure (called an illicium) to attract prey. It is protected by an elongated snout. In general, they eat mainly small fish, mollusks, and crustaceans such as shrimps and crabs. You can easily see the cool legs this fish has for walking around and it can swim pretty well if it has to.

Sorry so short. I am way to busy these days…

Barry

May 11, 17     Comments Off on Red-Spotted Hermit Crab, Deep-Sea Crabs, New Finds

Hi all, today I have a beautiful three inch, red-spotted hermit crab for your viewing pleasure compliments of the world famous Smithsonian Institution and Substation Curacao. My long time followers already know the love I have for crabs and invertebrates but hermit crabs in general hold a special place in my little heart. I love the eyes more than anything and the way they carry their homes around exploring the sea-bottoms on a daily basis, it’s most likely where the name “mobile home” came from… Over the years I have photographed a wide variety of hermits with the most famous being the little tusk shell hermits that have just blown everyone away who has seen them, use my search box to check those out. On this trip to St. Eustatius we didn’t have our invertebrate scientists onboard they were more interested in the fish and sponges then anything else but with that said I did get to shoot some amazing crabs which you will be seeing here and on Twitter. If your searching for me on Twitter type in @SquidLover3 then sign up and follow, it’s as easy as that.

Lots to do as usual, have a great day.

Barry

May 10, 17     Comments Off on Centropristis fuscula, TwoSpot Sea Bass, Deep Sea Bass

Good morning out there, I have a small, two-inch, fully grown adult Centropristis fuscula or TwoSpot Sea Bass for your viewing pleasure today found a few weeks ago now on the ultra tiny island of St. Eustatius or “Statia” as it’s know by the locals. For those of you like myself who know nothing about this island in the Caribbean do yourself a favor and google the history, it will flat out blow your mind!! As a teaser did you know that during the Revolutionary War we got 40% of all our weapons from this island??? Yeah, say What?? Check it out, there’s a whole lot more…

Most of you already know how much I love these tiny sea-bass that live way down in the darkness and most are crazy colorful! If your wanting to compare this guy or gal to other tiny sea-bass I have shot just use the search box and either type in the specific names like Candy bass or Apricot bass or just try sea-bass or deep sea-bass, it’s amazing how much they all look similar but their color patterns, behaviors and the depths they live at are nothing alike.

If your wondering about the environment they are found in it’s much like the photo above. At depth, lets say over 350 feet corals and sponges become less and less and rock and sand become the key landscape in the form of sheer walls, single rocks on the sand or and occasional sponge or coral creating this little micro-community. Sea bass which are predators tend to be ambush hunters so they tuck themselves in alongside a rock or in the mouth of a cave, anywhere out of sight making them very hard to find and using the element of surprise keeps their little bellies full. They will eat just about anything as well, crabs and shrimps are for sure a daily menu item so really nothing is safe from these little eating machines.

Hope you all are doing well out there….

Barry

 

May 9, 17     Comments Off on Ogcocephalus sp., RARE Batfish, Walking Fish, Odd Fish

Good morning friends, this is what you call an OMG fish!! This is another “possible” New Species of Batfish Ogcocephalus sp. found 2.5 miles off the coast of St. Eustatia with the use of a mini-submersible on loan from Substation Curacao and found by scientists from the Smithsonian Institution. In Statia we were anchored around a quarter mile off shore in about 35-40 feet of water with nothing but sand and sea-grass below filled with sting-rays and giant flying gurnards. Unlike Curacao where the reef drops off immediately St. Eustatius has a shallow reef that extends around the whole island about 2+ miles )because of the giant volcano) meaning if you want to go explore the depths there you have to tow the submersible with a small boat and then begin the exploring. Each morning 4-5 people would climb into the submersible in the floating platform next to the ship and then for the next 45 minutes have to be towed at the surface, “sometimes in rough seas” for 2.5 miles out to the drop-off, that would have made me sick!! Once the submersible is underwater it has a GPS of sorts connected to it so the boat on top can follow it during it’s 4-6 hour collecting trips. Then before they surface (still 2.5 miles out) a diver jumps in and dives down to recover the finds and bring them to another waiting boat which brings all the stuff back to me hopefully alive. Lastly the sub will surface again 2.5 miles off shore in rough seas and get towed all the way back in meanwhile I am already photographing their recent finds. What happens if you have to use the bathroom during these long rides you as?? Not a pretty sight or sound I am told, they have pee-bags onboard for male and females and it’s true, “if you gotta go, you gotta go”!

This insanely beautiful little batfish is another first for me, none of us onboard including the Smithsonian had ever seen it. The body is covered in beautiful little spots and he or she was able to lighten or darken those spots according to the environment it was hiding in, such a wonderful little creature. As you may already know as well batfish don’t really swim around like normal fish, they spend their days laying in the sand or rubble or find a sponge and they walk using their cool front legs, this one here was a bit more adapted to swimming than others I have seen because of his feathered or fined feet as you can see above.

So much to do, so little time..

Cheers,

Barry

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