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.

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Jan 28, 12     Comments Off on Baby Caribbean Reef Squids, Sepioteuthis sepioidea

Good morning friends, it 5:00am here and super quiet! I have a very busy day planned ahead IF it doesn’t rain again! I am picking up Stijn at 8:00am and we are both first taking a friend of mine out to the airport to get him a ticket so he can get home to see his family in South America, will tell you this story more next week. After that we are planning on going to Mount Christoffel for the whole day doing photography. It’s something I have always wanted to do but have never taken the time to do it. Stijn will be helping me carry gear all day and help me set up any black-back-drop photos I may be taking so if it happens we may end up having some fun Curacao wildlife/vegetation photos for you next week.

For the past few days a group of four baby Caribbean Reef Squids, Sepioteuthis sepioidea have been living in our little lagoon at the Substation. The biggest one seen here is only about an inch and a half long. They spend their days just hovering in one spot under a big piece of algae encrusted rope that is hanging in the water and close to the surface. So yesterday after the sub dive I ran inside and put together another camera with the good-ol 28-70 lens and took off back to the water. When photographing squids you have to move real slow! In fact, what I do is just park myself about a meter from them and just hover there for 10 minutes before I start taking any pictures, that way they start to get a bit used to you. The basic coloring of a Caribbean reef squid is a mottled medium green to brown on their dorsal (upper) side with lighter coloring on their ventral (under) side for camouflage from predators swimming above or below them. These animals are social creatures often found in small groups that communicate through a variety of complex signals. Both cuttlefish and squid communicate by controlling the pigment in their skin. Messages such as readiness to mate, sexual identification, and alarm are flashed through various colorful spots, blotches, and background color. To signal slight alarm, their brow ridges turn bright gold and their central arms turn white. Their entire body will pale when a squid retreats from a potential predator and in open water when faced with an extremely aggressive predator, reef squid can also hide themselves and confuse predators by ejecting a cloud of black ink. Retreating squid near the protection of the reef will often turn dark brown or reddish in color to match their surroundings.

In addition to their colorful signaling behavior, S. sepioidea display unique behaviors such as pointing their bodies upward or vertically prior to striking a fish or prey, curling upward during territorial disputes and in hostile situations, and pointing head-down when approached by a predator in open water. As you can see here this little guy put his arms out as far as he could to make himself look bigger to try and scare me away, I was laughing underwater at how darn cute he was! Compared to the size of their body, squid’s eyes are strikingly large. They have the largest eye-to-body ratio in the entire animal kingdom.

I better get moving, I will send more baby squids shots this week! Have a wonderful weekend,

Barry

 

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