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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Archive for the ‘Bony Fish’

May 16, 14     Comments Off

BFish 6

Good morning all, remember back in January when I took off to the States to help test all the new mountain bikes for Outside Magazine?? Well the video I shot was finally released yesterday and I have it here for you to enjoy this morning. This is an annual event that is held in Tucson, Arizona and not only does one get to ride $12,000 bikes around, you get to ride with some of the best riders on the planet, talk about a blast!!

http://www.outsideonline.com/featured-videos/gear-videos/bikes/2014-Outside-Bike-Test.html

So, as you can imagine being back and trying to get into the groove of things is not as easy as we had hoped but slowly and surely we are trying, we just miss Peru!! I already started going through my thousands of images and picking out the best which will all go to our editor in Arizona and then eventually be for sale, so if you see something you like, please let me know. Aimee finally got all her Peruvian treasures unpacked, she bought beautiful blankets, hats of all kinds, scarfs, purses, gloves, belts, 3-alpaca stuffed animals and on and on, our house looks very colorful right now!

I have a close-up shot of a banded Butterflyfish for you all today. These are one of the more common fish on the reef and usually always seen in pairs.

Oh yeah, I updated the post from yesterday. I had forgotten that Aimee took photos of all the information plates under each item after I photographed them, talk about team work!

Have a wonderful day,

Barry

Apr 15, 14     Comments Off

BAR-

Hey gang, sorry so late today, I had to go get my new island ID card called a sedula this morning and that took longer than expected. We used to have to get these cards every year but now that we have been here so long we only need to renew them now every 3 years. 

Our island remains locked in wind and no rain, it is soooo dry!! Because of these conditions we continue to take water out to the desert for the birds each morning and by late afternoon it’s usually gone! We have a big black backpack that holds around 4-half gallon jugs plus we hand carry another a larger 2-gallon jug plus seed and fill our three bird baths. Yes, you could say it’s a lot of work but the reward is high, the birds and animals are loving it! Other folks are starting to bring scraps of vegetables or fruits and or friend Bill is now helping us out with the seed, it’s great to be able to do something!

I also bring home any hermit crabs I find with bad shells and offer them a new home of their choice once back at the house. This is easily done by placing them in with an assortment of empty shells and usually within minutes they will leave the old nasty one and upgrade into a better model. Hey crabs are smart, if they have the opportunity to move into a better home they sure will! So then after a night of food and water, we take them back out to where we found them and let them go, except now they have a better home to carry.

Our four baby Red Footed tortoises spent their first night outside in their new turtle habitat and I have to say, I worried about them all night. In the morning I rushed outside, lifted the roof area and found them all buried in the dirt inside one of the two caves, so all is good.

We will be very busy this week getting last minute stuff done for our trip to Peru which is now just under a week away. I went and bought all kinds of toys like Hot wheels, puzzles, necklaces and fun socks for us to give to the kids, it will be Christmas in April!

I had a request for a photo showing the beak of a parrotfish and found this one that I took a few days ago.

Have a great rest of the day!!

I’m out-Barry

Apr 11, 14     Comments Off

Flounder

Good morning friends, it’s finally Friday!! Aimee and I have been super busy getting stuff ready for our Peru trip which is now less than 2 weeks away! We are having friends stay at the house who will look after the dogs and turtles and continue to put water out for the birds in the desert on a daily basis as the island is dry beyond belief!! The wind is blowing so hard these days making the diving and mountain biking not so fun, I really wish it would calm down a bit!

This is one of our large resident Peacock Flounders laying on a giant boulder right out in front of our little submersible lagoon. I always get a kick out of watching other divers or friends swim right over him and they never see it laying there, he is the king of camouflage! I have noticed that over time this flounder has gotten very used to me swimming over him and now instead of swimming off he will just lay there with his body still and only his eyes moving, each in different directions!! This flounder is around 18 inches in length and can change colors in the blink of an eye, talk about a fantastic animal!!

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.

I’m off on a 4-hour mountain bike ride in the morning and pray the winds chill out a bit or my 4 hour ride may turn into 5! Have a great weekend!!

Barry

Apr 3, 14     Comments Off

Moray 1

Good morning guys and gals, we are super busy here at Substation Curacao today and I just finished my first of two dives. On my way back I ran into our little 6-foot long green buddy (above) and it kind of caught me off guard! This giant lives here in our little lagoon but I rarely see him out swimming during the day like he was here, maybe he was coming back from a long night out on the reef, who knows!! I got off a few shots and then he took off down into the darkness of the reef.

Moray eels are cosmopolitan eels of the family Muraenidae. The approximately 200 species in 15 genera are almost exclusively marine, but several species are regularly seen in brackish water, and a few, for example the freshwater moray (Gymnothorax polyuranodon), can sometimes be found in fresh water. With a maximum length of 11.5 cm (4.5 in), the smallest moray is likely Snyder’s moray (Anarchias leucurus),while the longest species, the slender giant moray (Strophidon sathete) reaches up to 4 m (13 ft). The largest in terms of total mass is the giant moray (Gymnothorax javanicus), which reaches 3 m (9.8 ft) in length and 30 kg (66 lb) in weight.

Reef-associated roving coralgroupers (Plectropomus pessuliferus) have been observed to recruit morays to join them in hunting for food. The invitation to hunt is initiated by head-shaking. The rationale for this joining of forces is the ability of morays to enter narrow crevices and flush prey from niches not accessible to groupers. This is the only known instance of interspecies cooperative hunting among fish. Cooperation on other levels, such as at cleaning stations, is well-known.

Morays are frequently thought of as particularly vicious or ill-tempered animals. In truth, morays hide from humans in crevices and would rather flee than fight. They are shy and secretive, and attack humans only in self defense or mistaken identity. Most attacks stem from disruption of a moray’s burrow (to which they do react strongly), but an increasing number also occur during hand feeding of morays by divers, an activity often used by dive companies to attract tourists. Morays have poor vision and rely mostly on their acute sense of smell, making distinguishing between fingers and held food difficult; numerous divers have lost fingers while attempting hand feedings, so the hand feeding of moray eels has been banned in some locations, including the Great Barrier Reef. The moray’s rear-hooked teeth and primitive but strong bite mechanism also makes bites on humans more severe, as the eel cannot release its grip, even in death, and must be manually pried off. While the majority are not believed to be venomous, circumstantial evidence suggests a few species may be.

Eels that have eaten certain types of toxic algae, or more frequently that have eaten fish that have eaten some of these algae, can cause ciguatera fish poisoning if eaten. The evolutionary advantages created by their elongated bodies are unknown.

Back to the water, see you soon!!

Barry

Apr 2, 14     Comments Off

Canthigaster jamestyleri 1

Canthigaster jamestyleri 2

Good morning from Curacao!! I have another super cool little fish for you today that sadly no diver will ever get to see!!! This is called a Goldface Toby or Canthigaster jamestyleri and is in the family of Pufferfish. It looks so much like a Sharpnose Puffer doesn’t it??? This little half inch treasure was observed by the Smithsonian inside the safety of the “Curasub” submersible at depths ranging from 235-488 feet, that’s quite a range! The distinctive features include; pale yellow to yellow with blue markings on tail, unlike the Sharpnose Puffer who is distinguished by dark boarders on the tail. It also has shades of brown on back with numerous dark blue markings (absent on Sharpnose Puffer). The upper snout is olive-brown with areas of yellow-gold undercolor running from mouth to around eyes which are covered with numerous bright blue markings. White lower body with numerous blue spots and line markings on base of tail. These fish inhabit deep rocky outcroppings and hard bottoms with stands of gorgonia. Also FYI, Jim Tyler, for whom this fish was named. is an ichthyologist/paleobiologist who works for the Smithsonian.

In my search for information on this fish I found that most of the so called “Goldfaced Tobies” on Google are actually Sharpnose Puffers, you can just look at the tails. Also my older addition of “REEF FISH” 3rd addition has the Goldface Toby on page 383 but it’s been removed from the newer versions, I guess they are starting to phase out fish that divers will never see??

Well gang, enjoy the little fish, I have to get moving!

Have a wonderful day!!

Barry

Mar 25, 14     Comments Off

BAR-

BAR-

Hey gang, geez it’s 8:30pm!!! Talk about dropping the ball on the blog today, super sorry but I was so busy!! I took off to Blue Bay Resort with our friend Emma from Sweden at around 9:30am and spent around 2 hours doing a fun photo-shoot with her on the beach. I have been wanting to get more into photographing people and models (on land) and today was a perfect opportunity. We shot Emma holding beautiful conch shells, using Ikelite cameras, laying in the sand, on towels, with hermit crabs and on and on, it was super fun and I got some great photos to share, so stay tuned. Once I returned I met Carole Baldwin from the Smithsonian and her and I went for one last round of beach combing as she flies back to the States early in the morning. The rest of the Smithsonian group left yesterday and as always they ALL will be missed, we sure love having them around!!

Here is a new fish for yours truly. This is a baby or juvenile Golden Coney, Cephalopholis fulva that I found under our ship while anchored at Daaibooi Friday with the Chapman. Actually I found two of them and both around 2-inches in length. I have seen adult Golden Coney’s in Bonaire on many occasions but I have never seen them here and I know I don’t have an photos of these cute, very colorful juveniles! This little fish will soon loose the orange coloring on the top of his body and turn completely yellow and look even more brilliant in the days to come. Coney’s which are in the sea bass family are normally found in shades of reddish brown to brown, (most common), but there is also a bicolor variation (upper dark and lower pale), and as you see here the uncommon brilliant yellow-gold variation, with scattered small brilliant blue dots. Coney’s are one the those fish that are a complete joy to photograph as they usually just sit there like groupers do and let you do your thing, acting completely unafraid. Obviously groupers are the best known members of the sea-bass family but they all have strong, stout bodies and large mouths. One can normally always find sea-bass and Coney’s lurking in the shadows of the reefs, ledges and wrecks where larger species blend with the background. Because of the large mouths these sea-bass have fishes or crustaceans are drawn into their gullets by the powerful suction created when they open their large mouths making them dangerous predators.

It’s time for bed, see you tomorrow!!

Barry

Mar 19, 14     Comments Off

Dragonette 2-web

Dragonette-web

Good morning friends of the sea!! Here is something super special that the scientists from the Smithsonian brought up yesterday ALIVE from….”are you sitting down”??, 940 feet!!!! How is that possible you ask to bring a fish up in one day from so deep without killing it?? Good question and one I asked as well. These remarkable little fish apparently have no swim bladders and are able to off gas very quickly. Once at the surface we rush them over to our waiting cold water, deep-sea aquariums and immediately get them back into a home-like environment with the same rocks and sand they are used to. This one here is named Foetorepus agassizii, and is around four inches in length. These fish are completely docile and honestly as relaxed as a fish can be and a complete joy to watch. They also have this super tall, very colorful dorsal fin that I so far have not gotten on a photo, he obviously isn’t that alarmed! Like all the other deep sea fish that we found this week like the Candy Bass, Golden Bass and the little Banded Basslets for example he also eats the little live mysis shrimps and most likely feeds on small crustaceans as well. Being that there is zero info out there on this fish I will keep asking questions and update it as more info becomes available.

The Smithsonian is in the submersible as I type, I am waiting again to see what is found today.

Hope your having a great week out there! I finally got my Specialized Epic fixed yesterday after two months (rear shock problems) of it being down and will be out riding tonight, can hardly wait!!

Later, Barry

Mar 18, 14     Comments Off

Hi friends, I have a beautiful Decodon wrasse sp. or Red Hogfish for your viewing pleasure today. This is one of three different Red Hogfish species currently being found and brought up alive by the new submersible called the “Curasub” This little sweetheart is around four inches in length and was found between 400-600 feet. Decodon is a genus of wrasses found from the western Atlantic Ocean through the Indian Ocean to the eastern Pacific Ocean. The wrasses are a particularly diverse and abundant family of reef fishes, with numerous species that occupy essentially all reef, rock, and grassbed habitats in the Caribbean. The bluehead wrasse, Thalassoma bifasciatum, is the single regional representative of a prominent labrid genus and is ubiquitous on Western Atlantic coral reefs. Another large genus of wrasses, Halichoeres, has more than 80 species throughout the tropics with many regional representatives, not all of which are closely related. There are three local razorfishes in Xyrichtys (note that Xyrichtys is frequently misspelled as Xyrichthys) and two hogfishes in Bodianus. The remaining labrid genera in the region are mostly monotypic: Doratonotus megalepis, Lachnolaimus maximus, Clepticus parrae, and the deep-water wrasse Decodon (above), the latter two species have a sibling species in the eastern Atlantic and in the eastern Pacific.

Busy day on tap, I have to go!!

Barry

Mar 14, 14     Comments Off

Good morning gang, here is one of the hands down most beautiful fish in the Caribbean and sadly no diver will ever get to see it!! This colorful beauty is called a Candy Basslet, Liopropoma carmabi and lives at around 225 feet!! This is considered a Sea Bass in the Serranidae family and only grows to be about two inches in length! As you can see, these mini sea bass are boldly marked with stripes generally in shades of light brown to red-brown or yellow-brown alternating with red to maroon but stripes may be occasionally yellow to lavender or even blue as you see here!! Around Curacao these fish are found in different shades of colors. For instance on Klein Curacao they have much more of a pink hue while here at the Sea Aquarium house reef they tend to look more like these. They typically inhabit deep coral reefs and rubble slopes and are very reclusive and will remain hidden inside recesses until danger passes. Also, FYI the top scientists in the World from the Smithsonian Institution are in the process of renaming this and other small deep-water sea bass to “Bass” not “Basslet”, so the new and correct name will be Candy Bass, not Candy Basslet. One deep-water fish that will remain a “true basslet” is the cute little Banded Basslet, Lipogramma evides.

I have to get ready for a dive with the submersible, the fun never ends around here!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Barry

Mar 6, 14     Comments Off

I guys and gals, so yesterday when Aimee and I went for our morning hike I found a giant hermit crab about the size of a baseball walking around in a shell that barely fit him! His shell was so old and nasty that his whole body was hanging out, he really couldn’t even protect himself. Yep, you know where this is going don’t you?? I reached into my trusty backpack and pulled out my tupperware animal transporter and in he went. I carried him back to the car where we keep a big bucket in the back filled with dirt and food for just these little emergencies. When we got home I put him in one of our big turtle homes and laid 3 big, beautiful shells in there for him to choose from. Within minutes he had one picked out and “Presto” he moved out of the old one and into the new one!! He is currently playing in his water dish and being fed all kinds of different foods. So now I am waiting till Sunday when I can take him all the way back out and put him right back where we found him but first he will get a free professional photo-shoot, so stay tuned!!

I have a cute little Sharknose Goby, Gobiosoma evelynae resting in a little pocket of brain coral for you all today. These little fish as you may or may not know are known for engaging in symbiosis with other marine creatures by providing them cleaning service that consists of getting rid of ectoparasites on their bodies. In return, the Sharknose Gobies obtain their primary source of food, ectoparasites.

Sharknose gobies are very small, torpedo-shaped fish. Although sizes vary slightly by species, they are generally about (1.5 inch) long. They have dark bodies with iridescent stripes running from the tip of the nose to the base of the caudal fin. The color of the stripes varies by species. Like all gobies, their dorsal fin is split in two, the anterior dorsal fin being rounded like that of a clownfish and the posterior dorsal fin being relatively flat. The anal fin lines up with the posterior dorsal fin and is of similar shape. The pectoral fins are nearly circular, and, like all other fins, transparent.

Sharknose Gobies are generally carnivorous, with their primary diet consisting of ectoparasites on skins, fins, mouth and gill chambers of their clients. Depending on their ecological circumstances, they may also feed on zooplankton and non-parasitic copepods. Although they are carnivorous, they occasionally consume algae and other plants as secondary food source.

Sharknose Gobies have a unique response to predators approach. Fish response to danger is largely classified into two: fight-or-flight or freezing. However, Gobiosoma evelynae follows neither. It engages in cleaning interactions with potential predators sooner than with non-predatory clients, treating them almost as soon as they arrive at their cleaning stations. Furthermore, it was observed that these type of gobies clean predators for longer durations. As implied by higher cortisol level in the Sharknose when approached by predators, the fish do experience stress upon encountering predators, but unlike other fish that exhibit flight or freezing response, our brave goby demonstrates a proactive response. It is predicted that the Sharknose chooses to be proactive as cleaning predators faster makes them leave sooner, which in turn would encourage non-predatory clients to revisit cleaning stations. Moreover, such proactive response may serve as a pre-conflict management strategy that might result in safe outcome for interactions with certain predators.

Have a great day, I’m taking off underwater to see the submersible!

Barry

Mar 5, 14     Comments Off

Good morning friends, I have a colorful Puddingwife wrasse for your viewing pleasure today. As many of my fellow divers/underwater photographers know this fish never stops swimming and is very hard to get a photo of. I chased this one for 20 minutes trying to get off a lucky shot and came close to just calling it quits but wasn’t about to get beat by a little fish! Like many wrasses, the Puddingwife goes through a dramatic color/pattern change as it matures, though both the juvenile and adult animals in an attractive fish.

The puddingwife wrasse, Halichoeres radiatus, is a species of wrasse native to the Western Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina to Bermuda, through the West Indies and Gulf of Mexico, to offshore islands of Brazil, being absent from Brazilian coastal waters. It can be found on reefs at depths from 2 to 55 m (6.6 to 180.4 ft), with younger fish up to subadults being found in much shallower waters from 1 to 5 m (3.3 to 16.4 ft). This species can reach 51 cm (20 in) in total length, though most do not exceed 40 cm (16 in). 

Favorite foods of this colorful fish are; Bivalves, snails, sea urchins, crabs, serpent stars, bristle worms, mantis shrimp and chitons.

The Puddingwife wrasse is found on lagoons and reef flats, generally over sand or rock and rubble substrates. This wrasse is often observed feeding in association with the Bar Jack (Caranx ruber). The two move and feed together on the reef. The Puddingwife grows to a large size and is capable of moving rocks as it searches for food. It may also be aggressive toward related wrasses.

Have a wonderful day out there!!

Barry

Feb 21, 14     Comments Off

Good morning mates, how are you all today?? I’m sure just knowing that today is Friday and a fun weekend is on tap is enough to make anyone’s day a bit better. I’m off on a long 3 hour training ride in the morning followed by an underwater photo shoot with free-diving bikini-clad ladies and the dolphins, again, some one has to do it! On Sunday I told Stijn we are not doing much trail work and for once going to have a great weekend of diving and relaxing, let’s see if things go as planned. Tomorrow is Aimee’s birthday so not sure what we will be doing, I do know she has to work so that kind of limits the adventure.

I have a bright yellow Longlure Frogfish, Antennarius multiocellatus that we found a while back on the Wannadive house reef in Bonaire. This one here was perched in a perfect area filled with small fish and lots of activity. To the fish he looks like a sponge, because of this all he has to do is wait and food will come to him, it’s honestly one of the coolest creatures in the sea!

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.

Have a great weekend, Barry

Feb 19, 14     Comments Off

Good evening friends, I finally got a blog done at night, I am sooo happy!! I found this resting balloonfish today on our dive and thought it would be something of interest.

This is a sleeping or resting Balloonfish, Diodon holocanthus. We see this quite often and folks that are with me always ask afterwards, “what was the deal with the Balloonfish”?? Was he dead? Was he sick?? Nope, just resting I always say. It takes a lot of effort for a bulky awkward fish like a Balloonfish to stay in one place for any length of time as their bodies are like a floating bag of air with spines! So what do they do, they wedge themselves in between two rocks or under a big rope (above) where they can then just lay there and chill without having to fight to stay in one place. These fish are not the best of swimmers and rarely will be seen if there are rough conditions above. If the ocean is angry they will always find a cave or something to wedge themselves under like the one above and will stay there all day unless bothered. So divers keep your distance, you don’t want to scare one out of it’s hiding place, he may not go back and may have a hard time finding another place to hide.
Here are some fun facts.

The eggs of balloonfish move smoothly over the water surface at almost 96 hours before young ones are produced.

The adult balloonfish prefers to be alone while the juveniles stay in groups.

If threatened it has the ability to change colors or shades of light to dark.

They have big eyes that allow them to lurk for prey in the dark.

Their diet consists of hermit crabs, snails, coral polyps, sea urchins and mollusks.

It is a night-time/nocturnal predator that likes to stay out of sight during the day.

There are 19 different species of porcupinefish, a class under which balloonfish fall.

The entire body structure is imbued with coffee color spots while the unique tan coloring around the eyes is the hallmark of balloonfish.

When a balloonfish encounters danger and the attack is imminent, it responds with a display of magnificent spiny armor and fills its stomach with water. This process continues until the stomach bulges and the spines stand vertical. That is why it is known as a balloonfish because it turns itself into a balloon when it is scared.

Off to bed, have a great day!!

Barry

Feb 19, 14     Comments Off

Hi friends, late start again today, I really have to get back to doing the blog in the evenings, would be so much easier! I just got back from a fun but cold dive with my friends from Sweden. I took my 105 macro out this morning and worked on searching for just brain corals and then looking for more “coral letters” for my growing collection. Today I finally found a “J, X, O, and a B” so I officially have about half of them. Almost every colony of coral I looked at had at least one of these tiny, one-inch Peppermint Gobies parked somewhere on it, you just had to really stop and look. Their distinctive features include a yellow-gold to translucent body, a beautiful electric blue wash on snout and several pale lines ranging from red to olive found behind the eye and on forebody. This is a common fish seen perched on coral heads in the Florida Keys, Bahamas, and the Caribbean. Usually when I first approach these little fish they will swim off to another part of the coral but if you stop and wait they will always come back, they are very curious.

The gobies form the family Gobiidae, which is one of the largest families of fish, with more than 2,000 species in more than 200 genera. Most are relatively small, typically less than 10 cm (4 in) in length. Gobies include some of the smallest vertebrates in the world, such as species of the genera Trimmatom nanus and Pandaka pygmaea, which are under 1 cm (3/8 in) long when fully grown. Some large gobies, such as some species of the genera Gobioides or Periophthalmodon, can reach over 30 cm (1 ft) in length, but that is exceptional. Generally, they are benthic, or bottom-dwellers. Although few are important as food for humans, they are of great significance as prey species for commercially important fish such as cod, haddock, sea bass, and flatfish. Several gobies are also of interest as aquarium fish, such as the bumblebee gobies of the genus Brachygobius. Phylogenetic relationships of gobies have been studied using molecular data.

The most distinctive aspects of goby morphology are the fused pelvic fins that form a disc-shaped sucker. This sucker is functionally analogous to the dorsal fin sucker possessed by the remoras or the pelvic fin sucker of the lumpsuckers, but is anatomically distinct; these similarities are the product of convergent evolution. Gobies can often be seen using the sucker to adhere to rocks and corals, and in aquariums they will stick to glass walls of the tank, as well.

Lots to do, Barry

Feb 18, 14     Comments Off

Hi friends, we are back!! Many of you noticed and sent a mail off to me yesterday saying the site was down and could not be opened and for that I say thanks!! So what has happened is we moved our site from one host to another in hopes of better customer service and now as many of you noticed we are live thanks to Hostmonster!!

What did you all do this weekend?? Feel free to actually answer that question, we love to hear from you guys and gals! My weekend was filled with 3 things, mountain biking, trail building and baby turtles! Ah, that last one caught your attention didn’t it?? Some of you know we have four baby Red Footed tortoises and I finally built them a new outdoor sanctuary! For a year or more we have had these cute little 4-6 inch baby tortoises upstairs on our balcony in two different wooden boxes. The boxes are filled with dirt and have great caves and of course a pool for each one. Well, we found out through research that the dirt we have been using is too dry and can cause them to have breathing problems so upon reading that we decided to just re-do the boxes and build them a fun outdoor park of their own. Syijn helped me all day Sunday. He made a beautiful protective cover with metal screen and a wood frame that will keep dogs or Iguanas out while I worked on framing the area in brick, making a pool, building caves and bringing in lots of fresh soil and mixing it with leaves, it looks great and they love it! Since they are still small I will bring them upstairs every night before dark and put them back into their little protective homes for the night. These turtles have turned out to be a whole lot of work and have to be watched closely. Our biggest fear is having them flip over and not be able to get back on their feet, I seriously don’t know how these things survive in the wild?? And yes, I know I have promised to get photos for you, so hang in there a little longer, I will get them out for a photo shoot!

I have a mega camouflaged Scorpionfish for you all today that I found the other night, this one was very hard to see!

Scorpaenidae, the scorpionfish, are a family of mostly marine fish that includes many of the world’s most venomous species. As the name suggests, scorpionfish have a type of “sting” in the form of sharp spines coated with venomous mucus. The family is a large one, with hundreds of members. They are widespread in tropical and temperate seas, but mostly found in the Indo-Pacific. They should not be confused with the cabezones, of the genus Scorpaenichthys, which belong to a separate, though related family, Cottidae.

Most species are bottom-dwellers that feed on crustaceans and smaller fish. Many inhabit shallow waters, but a few live as deep as 2,200 metres (7,200 ft). Most Scorpionfish, such as the stonefish, wait in disguise for prey to pass them by before swallowing, while lionfish often ambush their prey. When not ambushing, lionfish may herd the fish, shrimp, or crab in to a corner before swallowing. Like many perciform fishes, scorpionfish are suction feeders that capture prey by rapidly projecting a suction field generated by expansion of the fish’s buccal cavity.

Have a great day!

Barry

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