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.
Archive for the ‘Bony Fish’
Feb 17, 16 Comments Off on Bicolored Coney, Cephalopholis fulva, Sea Bass
Good morning friends, we had a little “fake rain” last night that barely wet the ground and did nothing for the plants. We are really seeing a pattern of less and less rain here each year and a major increase in the wind which is great if you are into flying kites and wind surfing! We have another very busy day underway with a large group of kids from Bonaire so yours truly is in and out of the water most of the day.
I have a super colorful little sea bass for you all today called a Bicolored Coney or Cephalopholis fulva for you masters of fish out there. The coney (Cephalopholis fulva) is a relatively small grouper species which occurs in three main colour forms: a red or dark brown form, commonly found in deep water; an orange-brown or bicoloured form, orangey-brown above and pale below, which usually occurs in shallow water; and a yellow (‘xanthic’) form, found in both deep and shallow water. In the first two forms, the head and body are covered in small, dark-edged blue spots, while in the yellow form the spots are fewer and are confined to the front part of the head and body. In all colour forms, there are two prominent black spots on the tip of the lower jaw, and also two prominent black spots near the tail. Like many groupers, the coney is able to change colour, and at night may take on a pale colouration, with irregular vertical bars and blotches. Individuals can also apparently change between the all-red or all-brown form and the bicoloured form, whereas yellow individuals do not appear to change. The coney may change to the bicoloured pattern in response to excitement, or the pattern may aid in concealing the fish at certain times of day.
Thanks to www.arkive.org for that wonderful hard to find info….
Lots to do.
Feb 5, 16 Comments Off on Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus, Blue Fish
Good morning all, what a week!! So much diving in freezing cold water, it really wears you out! Aimee and I have been packing like crazy to get ready for our Washington trip which is now only days away. We have a friend staying at our house and all the neighbors will be helping walk the dogs throughout the day, that alone is a big relief! I have been so busy this week that I wasn’t able to go biking at all but tomorrow morning I will be making up for lost time in the saddle and picking up a friend at 7:30.
I have a beautiful Blue Tang for you all today that I found swimming under a pier up against a beautiful sponge encrusted wall!
I have to be underwater AGAIN in 15 minutes, sorry but I have to run!!
Have a great weekend and I will try to post from Washington…
Feb 2, 16 Comments Off on Lionfish Face Photo, Colorful Invasive Reef Fish
Good morning all, I have a fun Lionfish portrait for you all today that I shot yesterday with my trusty 105 macro. We still see these beautiful invasive fish on every dive but on some reefs they are really doing a good job at keeping the numbers down. We ended up doing three dives yesterday, two of them were with my intern trying to teach him something about the difficulties of underwater photography, he’s finding out it’s not so easy….
Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, “Don’t touch!”
The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal.
Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they’ve found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide.
The largest of lionfish can grow to about 15 inches (0.4 meters) in length, but the average is closer to 1 foot (0.3 meters).
Lionfish are popular in some parts of the world as food, but are far more prized in the aquarium trade. Their population numbers are healthy and their distribution is growing, causing some concerned in the United States, where some feel the success of this non-indigenous species presents human and environmental dangers.
Lots to do….
Jan 29, 16 Comments Off on Spotted Scorpionfish Photo, Scorpaena plumieri
Good morning out there, check out this outrageous Scorpionfish that we found on a night dive, he or she has the biggest lips I have ever seen on one of these fish, I think he could swallow just about anything! Besides the big mouth check out all the exotic plumage this fish has as well, it really helps him blend into the reef. These fish are so patient and will just sit there all day waiting for some poor unsuspecting prey to swim by.
Most species of scorpionfish are bottom-dwellers that feed on crustaceans and smaller fish. Many inhabit shallow waters, but a few live as deep as 2,200 m (7,200 ft). Most scorpionfish, such as the stonefish, wait in disguise for prey to pass them by 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.
I have to get back out under the sea, have a wonderful day…
Jan 28, 16 Comments Off on Balloonfish, Diodon holocanthus, Porcupinefish
Good morning friends, Curacao is having some crazy high winds right now which is very unusual for this time of year. We also appear to be heading into another major drought, this could be the worst start of a year I have seen to date.
I have a very cute Balloonfish for you all today that I found at dusk heading out one night for a night dive.
Porcupinefish are medium- to large-sized fish, and are found in shallow temperate and tropical seas worldwide. A few species are found much further out from shore, wherein large schools of thousands of individuals can occur. They are generally slow.
Porcupinefish have the ability to inflate their bodies by swallowing water or air, thereby becoming rounder. This increase in size (almost double vertically) reduces the range of potential predators to those with much bigger mouths. A second defense mechanism is provided by the sharp spines, which radiate outwards when the fish is inflated.
Some species are poisonous, having a tetrodotoxin in their internal organs, such as the ovaries and liver. This neurotoxin is at least 1200 times more potent than cyanide. The poison is produced by several types of bacteria obtained from the fish’s diet. As a result of these three defenses, porcupinefish have few predators, although adults are sometimes preyed upon by sharks and killer whales. Juveniles are also preyed on by tuna and dolphins.
I have to get ready for a sub dive, see you soon…
Jan 26, 16 Comments Off on Three Spotted Drums, Black and White Reef Fish
Good morning all, so what’s better than finding one Spotted Drum?? That’s right, finding two, and what’s better than finding two Spotted Drums, the answer would be finding THREE!!! Some of my underwater photo friends out there know not only how cool it is to find these fish in numbers but to have the chance to get them all in one photo, it just plain doesn’t happen every day!! These are for sure some of the coolest fish in the sea and for sure the most graceful and gentle. These odd shaped fish are normally found by themselves and tend to pick an area of the reef and stay there for an extended amount of time, they don’t seem to move around much. These cool fish are frequently observed during the day under ledges or near the opening of small caves, at depths between 3 and 30 metres (98 ft), where it swims in repetitive patterns. A nocturnal feeder, it leaves the protection of its daily shelter at night to feed mainly on small crustaceans and Polychaete worms.
I have to be underwater with the sub in 10 minutes, have a wonderful day all….
Jan 20, 16 Comments Off on Two Smooth Trunkfish, Lactophrys triqueter
Good morning amigo’s, how is your week treating you??? I’m still coughing and trying to get over this crazy bug but let me tell you, it’s really hanging on for dear life!! Our submersible just took off into the deep abis with two guests from the States and won’t be back for at least an hour giving me a little time to post a blog.
I have two cute as can be, fun loving Smooth Trunkfish for you all today that I found on a night dive chilling out inside a little sandy bottomed cave. Both of these odd shaped swimmers were around four inches in length and really didn’t move around much while I was photographing them. As you can see the water was crystal clear, in fact, it was crazy clear on this particular dive making my job a whole easier and much more fun. The smooth trunkfish is normally solitary but sometimes moves around in small groups. It uses its protuberant lips to expel a jet of water which disturbs the sandy seabed and reveals any shallowly buried benthic invertebrates. It feeds on small molluscs, polychaete worms, acorn worms, peanut worms, small crustaceans, sponges and tunicates.
Have a great day my friends, the sub is returning…
Jan 19, 16 Comments Off on Two Banded Butterflyfish, Chaetodon striatus
Good morning, we have an overcast day on tap and it looks like it wants to rain but I think it just forgot how. We continue to do our early morning “save the wildlife” by bringing in water and bird food every morning to our two big feeding areas out in the desert. This morning I brought home a very sad looking hermit crab in a broken shell, it’s one of the worst homes I have seen. I have him now in a big bucket with other new shells so he should figure that out soon and discard the old nasty one, I will then take him back to where we found him.
I have a pair of beautiful Banded Butterflyfish for you all today that were found parked up against a monster sized barrel sponge in around 70 feet of clear Caribbean H2O.
Banded butterflyfish adults are most often seen in male-female pairs and may be monogamous throughout life. Courtship between the two is drawn out and energetic; the fish circle each other, head to tail, then chase each other around the nearest coral reef, shooing away other fish that dare to approach. Spawning takes place at dusk as the female releases 3,000 to 4,000 small, pelagic eggs. The larvae , which hatch within a day, are characteristic only to the butterflyfish family, with the head encased in bony armor and bony plates extending backwards from their heads. The larvae are gray and almost transparent, useful adaptations for any species growing up in the water column. Butterflyfish spend weeks as pelagic larvae before undergoing final settlement to the reef and attaining juvenile coloration. Juveniles look different from adults; they have a large, ringed black spot at the base of their dorsal fins that acts as a false eye, confusing predators as to which end is the front of the fish. Juveniles may retain this spot up to a size of 5 centimeters, after which it begins to fade away. The overall body color of juveniles is brownish-yellow instead of white and may serve as camouflage, as banded butterflyfish juveniles often inhabit sea grass beds.
Have a great day out there….
Jan 11, 16 Comments Off on Curacao Reef Scene, Scrawled Filefish Photo
Good morning gang, I came into work today but am still sick with the Curacao crud!! As of tomorrow it will be a week of coughing, aching and nose blowing and YES for those of you asking I did go to a doctor but even those pills don’t seem to be doing much.
I wish I had some kind of exciting story to tell but I have been inside for a week, if there is any up-side to this it’s given me lots of time to prepare for our up and coming talks at the Smithsonian next month, I am going through old photos night and day…
Your above photo was shot about a week ago on my last dive out in front of the Substation lagoon. This is my little buddy again that follows me everywhere, one of the coolest Scrawled Filefish I have ever seen!
Hope you all are doing better than yours truly…
Dec 31, 15 Comments Off on Whitespotted Filefish, Cantherhines macrocerus
Good morning all, it’s the last day of 2015, that really doesn’t even compute…. I’m sitting here in my wetsuit getting ready to head out underwater with our submersible for one last customer run of the year, then after I can spend the rest of the day with Aimee, the dogs and our two visiting guests. Tonight will be insane with fireworks to say the least, we will have to have the t.v. volume up as high as it will go, turn on the fans and air-co’s and sit with the dogs till way after midnight, I’m guessing till 2 or 3 in the morning. Two of our dogs are super scared of fireworks while our dog Indi would prefer to just be outside watching, what a major character…
I have a full size adult Whitespotted Filefish for you all today that I shot yesterday while out photographing the sub at 50 feet in front of the Substation entrance. These fish are super calm and very curious, one of the few easy fish for new underwater photographer to shoot.
The American whitespotted filefish typically has a brown or olive colored body, although it may also be grey. These fish can rapidly change appearance to a high contrast color pattern with a much darker background and many light colored spots. With a maximum length of around 18 inches, they are smaller than the scrawled filefish which is also found in their range. The American whitespotted filefish is often seen in pairs. These fish are omnivorous; although they eat animals like sponges, stinging coral and gorgonians, and algae.
Happy New Year one and all, another year of blogging has ended, thanks for all the support!!!!!!!
Dec 30, 15 Comments Off on Giant French Angelfish, Pomacanthus paru
Good morning friends, I’m trying to recover this morning from a long day of diving yesterday, we had three sub runs mixed with cold water and current making for a long day. While I photographed the sub our friends Karen and Alan did their own diving following me once out onto our house reef and another down the coast at Pier Baai above the Carpile dive site.
I have a giant 18-inch French Angelfish for you all this morning that we found on our fun drift-dive from Sea Aquarium to Substation a few days ago. We found two of these beauties together but I was unable to get them both in one photo it’s always been such a hard thing to do. Once I started shooting them they started swimming straight down to much deeper water and I finally had to call it quits, they really are not shy or scared just busy.
Not much else to report, weird weather continues here, we should be having big rains but so far they are no where on the horizon?? I think our friends are doing one last dive this morning as they fly out late tomorrow afternoon, wish I could be doing more with them but this is our busy season here.
Have a great day all…..
Dec 21, 15 Comments Off on Scrawled Filefish, Odd Shaped Caribbean Fish
Good morning all, just five little days till Christmas, can you believe it?? Where-o-where did this year go??? So last friday I ended up being out in the water all day photographing the sub and was unable to get the blog out and this week tuesday we have friends flying in for 10 days so not sure how much you will hear from me, my apologies in advance. Our guests that are coming are new, just certified divers and will want to do a lot of diving and they have their own car, so we should be able to get to some fun sites. The weekend went by fast, I’m still suffering with a pulled muscle in my lower back which kept me from doing much including no cycling! I pretty much spent my weekend cleaning the house and getting it ready for our guests, they will spend four days at a hotel and the rest of the time with us, the downside is they don’t arrive till 10:00 at night meaning we won’t be in bed till after midnight tomorrow, I’ll just call that my New Years night out!!
I have a little Scrawled Filefish for you all today who I have sent you many times before. He or she is a pet of sorts and has gotten quite used to me always being out on the reef and seems fascinated by my big o’l camera or all the bubbles I’m making with every breath. This cool looking fish will slowly swim around me and most times come within a foot always glaring at me with that big crazy eye of his. When alarmed this fish has a retractible spine on top of his head that can raised and lowered and as you can see from this shot he doesn’t seem to worried.
So much to do, so little time….
Have a great day.
Dec 15, 15 Comments Off on Post-Larval Juvenile Smooth Trunkfish, Boxfishes
Good morning from the windiest place on Earth! Like the rest of the planet our weather is messed up and not normal! We should be having rain every day but instead it’s been crazy windy with very little sun and honestly if the rains don’t come soon we will be headed into another year of drought!
I left the house at 6:30 this morning (in the dark) and met my neighbor for an early morning mountain bike ride. We did two fast loops around the salt pond which is around 17 miles and I made it in to work on time, need to start doing that more often, it’s way cooler!
I have a super cute, pea sized, Post-Larval Juvenile Smooth Trunkfish for you all today that I found a few weeks ago while out playing with my 105 macro lens. This is without a doubt the sweetest, most gentle little fish on the reef but they can be very hard to find because of their tiny pea size. This little thing was hanging out inside a colony of fire-coral which made the job of picture taking even more difficult because hey, it’s fire-coral!! It always blows my mind that this floating little ball will grow up to be close to a foot in length! Baby trunkfish will usually stay in one small area for many months, I know this because quite often I go back to see these guys over and over and they are always in the same spot, they don’t move around a lot when they are this age. Once older they will become “reef travelers” and swim up and down the reef all day with no apparent home location, kind of like coral reef drifters, they go where the food is..
Lots to do, have a wonderful day…
Dec 4, 15 Comments Off on Juvenile Puddingwife, Halichoeres radiatus
Good morning friends, I have a colorful juvenile 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 weekend..
Nov 24, 15 Comments Off on Candy Bass, Deep Fish, Liopropoma carmabi
Good morning friends, here is the hands down most beautiful fish Curacao has to offer, it’s called a Candy Basslet, Liopropoma carmabi and lives at a depth of about 225 feet! This is by far the most sought after aquarium fish in the World and will cost you around $500 to $1000 to own one. 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!! They typically inhabit deep coral reefs and rubble slopes and are very reclusive and will remain hidden inside recesses until danger passes. Passengers in the new Curasub have the best chance of seeing one of these in their natural habitat without the dangers of deep-diving in scuba gear. I am always amazed that there are fish like this that live far below in the darkness and no diver will ever see them but yet they are so colorful!
Aimee is bringing our dog Indi over in a few minutes for a possible Christmas dog photo which will be posted sometime next month IF (Big IF) we can make it happen!!??
Have a great day all…