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.

General

Archive for the ‘Bony Fish’

Oct 23, 15     Comments Off on Male Rosy Razorfish, Xyrichtys martinicensis

BAR-

BAR-

Good morning friends, sorry about the lack of postings this week but I took three days off and stayed away from the computer. One of my main projects was to finally get some work done on our new driftwood Christmas tree. Many of you remember the one I posted last year (click on the link below) well, our new one will be bigger and better.

http://www.coralreefphotos.com/merry-christmas-from-curacao-driftwood-tree

Beside the driftwood project I have been busy planting hundreds of new baby yucca plants out in the desert, cleaning the house for Aimee’s return next tuesday and keeping an eye on our dog Indi who has a crazy rash that looks like crop circles.

Your fish above is a handsome male Rosy Razorfish that I found along with hundreds if not thousands of others under our ship at Playa Forti a few weeks back. These fish are just too cool for words, not only are super colorful they have the ability to dive under the sand if bothered. You would not believe how hard I tried to get this one to dive under the sand, I really wanted a photo of one coming up out the sand but nothing I did scared him, they all must be very used to divers. Normally others I have seen in other locations dive under the sand before you even get close and this happens in the blink of an eye! Most times they will re-emerge in the same exact spot but can also tunnel underneath the sand for some distance. 

I have to get ready for a dive with sub, have a great day all!!

Barry

 

Oct 20, 15     Comments Off on Larval Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus

BAR-

Hey gang, I’m having a quiet three days off and pretty much just hanging out at the house keeping an eye on Indi and her weird skin rash. The heat here right now is unreal to say the least, these are by far the hottest days we have had this year making it almost impossible to get anything done outside. I’ve been taking the dogs out on the trails at 6:30 in the morning and returning no later than 8:00, it’s been that hot. Our big yucca plant in our front yard just died and left us with around 500 babies which I am now taking out to the desert and planting them one at a time, talk about a never ending job..

I found the above photo at Playa Jeremi on my night dive with our friend Christina. This is a post larval blue tang or surgeonfish inside a plastic cup that I found under the ship in around 20 feet of water. As you can see most of this little fish is still see-thru and only it’s cheek and eyes are developed, it’s most likely just a few weeks old. Also inside the cup was a baby sea hare, if you look close you can kind of see him towards the back of the cup.

Have a great day..

Barry

Oct 13, 15     Comments Off on Juvenile Queen Triggerfish, Colorful Reef Fish

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Good morning friends, I’m at work alone today, our crew, the sub and ship all left for another 2 day trip to Klein Curacao to further explore the unknown depths of that little island. I had to stay behind because Aimee left today for the States to a attend a dog training conference in Texas and we had no one to watch our two little fur babies. 

Two weeks ago we did a four day trip with the Chapman research vessel and our little submersible to the west end of the island and dropped anchor at a beautiful place called Playa Forti. This was a trip sponsored and paid for by the Smithsonian institution at a cost of about… (are you sitting down?) $17,000 a day!! Yep you read that right, renting a ship, crew and a submarine is not cheap but is %100 necessary for those that are in search of new and unusual creatures and fish never seen by any human before. So did the trip pay off you ask and did they find anything new?? The answer is YES! I have a bunch of new fish and creature photos for you but I have to get permission and get some kind of ID for you before I can post them so be patient. When I wasn’t inside photographing the new deep-sea specimens I was underwater with my camera taking photos which brings us to your picture of the day. This is a BEAUTIFUL, 3-inch juvenile Queen Triggerfish or Balistes vetula that I found hanging out in about 20 feet of water very close to where the ship was anchored. This is truly one of the most sexy fish we have around here and to think they can grow to be close to two feet long! This little Queen was super curious and relatively unafraid making my job a whole lot easier. In all the years I have been here I have never seen an adult Queen Triggerfish and this is only the second baby I have ever seen, both from the west end of our island.

Triggerfish have an oval shaped, highly compressed body. The head is large, terminating in a small but strong- jawed mouth with teeth adapted for crushing shells. The eyes are small, set far back from the mouth, at the top of the head. The anterior dorsal fin is reduced to a set of three spines. The first spine is stout and by far the longest. All three are normally retracted into a groove. The anal and posterior dorsal fins are capable of undulating from side to side to provide slow speed movement. The sickle shaped caudal fin is used only to escape predators.

Masked triggerfish (Sufflamen fraenatum) with its first dorsal spine partially raised. The two pelvic fins are overlaid by skin for most of their length and fused to form a single spine, terminated by very short rays, their only external evidence. Gill plates operculum too, although present are not visible, overlaid by the tough skin, covered with rough, rhomboid scales, that forms a stout armor on their body. The only gill opening is a vertical slit, directly above the pectoral fins. This peculiar covering of the gill plates is shared with other members of the Tetradontae order. Each jaw contains a row of four teeth on either side, while the upper jaw contains an additional set of six plate-like pharingeal teeth.

As a protection against predators, triggerfish can erect the first two dorsal spines: The first, (anterior) spine is locked in place by erection of the short second spine, and can be unlocked only by depressing the second, “trigger” spine, hence the family name “triggerfish”.

Lots to do, have a great day…

Barry

Aug 24, 15     Comments Off on Giant Scorpionfish, Predatory Caribbean Fish

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Good afternoon all, how was your weekend?? I just got out of the water after doing a quick photo shoot of two visiting tourists inside our five person, two and a half million dollar submersible. After every sub photo session I turn my attention to the reef and look for new creatures to shoot on my way out and today I found a giant scorpionfish at 65 feet just hanging out in the sand. These are such amazing animals, not only are they crazy colorful and patient beyond belief but they also have the ability to completely blend into their environment. These fish will just sit there all day completely motionless and wait for some poor unsuspecting creature or fish to pass by and then faster than you can blink your eyes…. it’s over! 

This will be a VERY busy week for us as the Smithsonian Institution arrives today. The plan is to take our submersible back to Klein Curacao aboard the research vessel the Chapman and do more dives in search of new creatures and fish. I will be sleeping in a tent on the little deserted island at night and during the day be aboard the Chapman taking photos of anything new that is found. I have two aquariums onboard that I will have chilled and ready to go and a tripod and camera ready to photograph whatever they find. So if you don’t hear from me this week you will know what is up, next week I should have a bunch of new photos.

Hope you all are well out there…

Barry

Aug 14, 15     Comments Off on Deep French Butterflyfish, Prognathodes guyanensis

BAR-

Butterflyfish-Deep

Good morning from Curacao…

Here’s two beautiful Deep Water French Butterflyfish, Prognathodes guyanensis that we recently discovered at around 450 feet! The top fish is a juvenile and is around the size of a quarter and the bottom photo is an older butterflyfish and measures around four and a half inches in length, not much difference in the two right?? The main differences are the black spot on the juveniles back and it’s first two dorsal fins are black, other than that you would almost think they are the same exact fish. The little juveniles are so fun to watch, they really keep busy and boy are they fast! For a photographer this fish can be a real challenge to shoot as it’s black and light yellow. I used two strobes and shot this little treasure above at 160/F-32 with my Nikon D-800, it’s razor sharp and can be enlarged to any size. 

There are more than 100 different species of butterflyfish found distributed throughout the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, meaning that the butterflyfish is a salt-water species of (marine) fish. The average butterflyfish is fairly small and generally grows to around 4 or 5 inches in length. Some species of the butterflyfish however, are known to grow to 8 inches (20 cm) long and some butterflyfish individuals have been known to grow to 30 cm in length. This fish is most closely related to the marine angelfish which is similar in color but the marine angelfish is often much larger in size than the butterflyfish. They can also be distinguished from angelfish by the dark spots on their bodies, dark bands around their eyes and the fact that the mouth of the butterflyfish is more pointed than the mouth of the angelfish. Butterflyfish are diurnal animals which means that they are feeding during the day and resting in the coral during the night. Most species of butterflyfish feed on the plankton in the water, coral and sea anemones and occasionally snack on small crustaceans . Those butterflyfish that primarily feed on the plankton in the water are generally the smaller species of butterflyfish and can be seen in large groups. The larger species are fairly solitary or stay with their mating partner.

I have a sick dog at home so I need to go check on her, we think she ate a dead iguana??

Have a wonderful weekend all..

Barry

Aug 4, 15     Comments Off on Invasive Lionfish taking over the Caribbean

BAR-

Good afternoon all, we just loaded our 6 ton, 2.5 million dollar submersible onto a flatbed truck for it’s journey over to our research ship called the Chapman where it will be loaded onboard for it’s early morning voyage tomorrow. The plan is to take the sub to our little island of Klein Curacao and do a pre-run of sorts before the Smithsonian Institution arrives later this month, we want to make sure the ship is in tip-top running order. I am unable to go on this trip due to my broken hand and not being able to get the cast wet so I will hold down the fort here at substation.

This is one of my resident lionfish that lives at around 110 feet out in front of the Substation lagoon and I try to stop and say hi every time I am out. There are a few lionfish here that everyone knows not to mess with as I photograph them on a daily basis and they have become very docile and super easy to approach, kind of like fish friends if you will. Some of these fish are so used to my presence that they will swim right up to the camera and just hang out there without a care in the world, I will have to do a little video for you. Speaking of video I got a new Go-pro 4 for my b-day way back in July and am waiting for the macro lens and card to arrive later this month, then I can start posting more fun videos for you.

Well, lots to do, I have to run…. Oh yeah, we got a nice rain this morning, it was fantastic!

Barry

Jul 31, 15     Comments Off on Bogas, Schooling Fish, School of fish, Fish Ball

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Good morning friends, after photographing the sub yesterday and waving goodbye I swam over to my giant school of Boga’s and joined them for around 15 minutes. These fish are so amazing and always the highlight to any dive! Instead of swimming away in fear they always swim to me then surround me allowing me to join their school. They seem to have no fear of the camera or the flashes thus allowing me to snap away at my leisure, it’s a total blast! Yesterday they were swimming just a few feet over the reef, normally they are very high in the water column and no where near the reef so yesterday was a real treat.

So why do fish swim in schools? It’s called the “safety factor against predators”. A potential predator hunting for a meal might become confused by the closely spaced school, which can give the impression of one vast and frightening fish. Additionally, there is the concept of “safety in numbers”—a predator cannot consume and unlimited quantity of prey. The sheer number of fish in a school allows species to hide behind each other, thus confusing a predator by the alteration of shapes and colors presented as the school swims along. Of course, those on the outside edges of the school are more likely to be eaten than those in the center. Predatory fish also gain from schooling because it gives them the ability to travel in large numbers in search of food. Also a very prevalent behavior, schooling is exhibited by almost 80 percent of the more than 20,000 known fish species during some phase of their life cycle. In many ways fish schools are much like herds of land animals or flocks of airborne birds. There is that undefined need to stay together. In some instances this herding has been the undoing of certain species, meaning if your all together your much easier to catch! I sure love my Boga’s, it’s a total blast to slowly swim thru the school and not be able to see anything around you except fish, you should try it!

I have to get out to the sea, have a great weekend!!

Barry

Jul 27, 15     Comments Off on Funny Fish Faces, Colorful Reef Fish Photos

BAR-

Good morning friends, I have another funny fish face for you all today that was again taken during the day but looks like it was taken at night. I always try to use a much higher f-stop like f-16 for instance to darken the backgrounds which helps to eliminate distractions keeping the focus just on  the animal. And, the higher f-stop will give you much more detail, you just have to add more light when shooting. I believe this is a Redtail Parrotfish because of the black blotch at the base of the pectoral fin but I have been wrong before!

Like all parrotfish they have the most unique and comical facial expressions, it’s trying to get them to look at the camera that is the hard part! Here is Curacao we have so many different parrotfish with names like…. Rainbow, Queen, Stoplight, Princess, Striped, Redband, Redtail, Yellowtail, Greenblotch, Bucktooth and Bluelip. There is also the Blue and the Midnight but you will have to go Bonaire to see those and there is a little Emerald but I have never seen one around here.

Parrotfish are so-called because their fused teeth give their mouths a beak-like appearance. These teeth are situated outside the jaw bones, so the beak protrudes beyond the mouth. This is perfect for scraping algae from the surface of rocky substrates, but can also get past one of the algae’s defenses — growing within the matrix of the coral itself. In some species, such as the hump-headed parrotfish, the beak can take a chunk out of the reef itself. Interestingly, although the parrotfish eat the polyps themselves, these herbivorous fishes are probably primarily Interested in the zooxanthellae contained within the coral’s tissues, rather than the coral itself.

To counteract their tough diet, parrotfishes teeth grow continuously. But those that form the beak are not the only teeth that these remarkable fish have; the plate-like pharyngeal teeth towards the back of the mouth can bring considerable crushing force to bear, pulverizing even the tough limestone. After this, the coral’s resistance is at an end. In the fish’s gut, living tissue is separated from the limestone rubble and powder. This ground material is ejected by the parrotfish as fine, white grains, which makes up a considerable proportion of the highly prized white sand found in coral reef lagoons and beaches!

Got in another four hour 40 mile mountain bike ride yesterday, it’s amazing how much of the remote parts of the island you can see on this trip and how much food and water one needs to carry. 

Lots to do…

Barry

Jul 24, 15     Comments Off on School of Fish, Snappers, Lutjanidae, Fish

BAR-

Good morning friends, it’s finally friday!! I have a beautiful school of snappers for you all today that we found living under a remote pier, or at least what was left of it. I know when most of you hear the word “snapper” your mouth starts watering and you immediately associate this with dinner but for me it means keeping them safe and enjoying the time I spend with them underwater getting to be part of their aqua world for just a few minutes. Most of the time when I find these large groups of fish I just stop and chill in hopes of showing them that I come in peace and just want to take a few photos and most of the time it works. Most diver are in such a rush that they don’t have the time to stop and smell the fish thus scaring them off immediately and I can tell you from experience that chasing fish doesn’t work either, they will win every time! So why do fish school?? Read on..

In biology, any group of fish that stay together for social reasons are shoaling (pronounced /ˈʃoʊlɪŋ/), and if the group is swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner, they are schooling (pronounced /ˈskuːlɪŋ/). In common usage, the terms are sometimes used rather loosely. About one quarter of fishes shoal all their lives, and about one half of fishes shoal for part of their lives.

Fish derive many benefits from shoaling behavior including defence against predators (through better predator detection and by diluting the chance of individual capture), enhanced foraging success, and higher success in finding a mate. It is also likely that fish benefit from shoal membership through increased hydrodynamic efficiency.

Fish use many traits to choose shoal mates. Generally they prefer larger shoals, shoal mates of their own species, shoal mates similar in size and appearance to themselves, healthy fish, and kin (when recognized).

The “oddity effect” posits that any shoal member that stands out in appearance will be preferentially targeted by predators. This may explain why fish prefer to shoal with individuals that resemble themselves. The oddity effect would thus tend to homogenize shoals.

I got in a fast 30 mile mountain bike ride last night and have another 40 mile ride planned for this coming sunday, trying hard to hold onto what little in shapeness I still have. We have a submersible dive here late this afternoon starting at 1:15, you might see us at the link below if you have time. 

www.seasubmarine.com

Have a great weekend….

Barry

Jul 20, 15     Comments Off on Juvenile Trumpetfish in Front of Online Camera

Trumpetfish-web

Good morning friends, many have written and asked what kind of fish is always floating in front of our LIVE underwater online video camera that we have at 50 feet out in front of our Substation lagoon. Well as you can see from the photo I took on friday it’s a little reddish/brown trumpetfish which has decided this camera is perfect for his new home. When I went out to take the photo he was right in front of the camera lens as you see here with his head down and tail straight up to the sky but as I got closer he drifted behind the camera and stayed there until I was gone. From a distance I watched as he then came back to the exact location and continued to hang there upside down, what a cool little fish. Pretty amazing that this fish can get up to three foot long! For your chance of spotting him just go to……

www.seasubmarine.com

Waking up tired today from a long 40 mile mountain bike ride yesterday that I did with three other friends and countless other activities during the day…. Yesterday evening Aimee and I carried heavy backpacks filled with water out to water our little agave plants that are dying from lack of moisture, we figure we planted them, so we better keep them alive until the rains come.

Busy day ahead….

Barry

 

Jul 17, 15     Comments Off on Kissing Cowfish, Fish Faces, Unique Fish

BAR-

Good morning friends, it’s once again trying to rain but it’s like it forgot how??? We have a sub run at 11:15 today so everyone here at Substation is either prepping the sub or like myself hauling dive gear outside and getting my camera ready for the dive. Did a short 20 mile bike last night to Vaersenbaai and back and again got stopped by the police riding my bike over the famous floating bridge in Punda. They were going to give me a ticket but I told them I have a sore foot and was unable to walk the bike especially in my cycling shoes with cleats so they let me go again with yet another warning. Aimee nailed it when she said.. “we have an island full of criminal problems and here the cops sit making sure people are not riding their bicycles across the bridge???” Seriously! 

I have another cute fish face photo for you today showing an adult Honeycomb Cowfish with his or hers irresistible “kiss me” lips! These fish are too cool for school all decked out in their crazy reticulated honeycomb pattern and their wild colors which they can lighten or darken in the blink of an eye! When they fish are in “alarm mode” or mating you will see them change from this greenish yellow-blue color to a wild iridescent blueish purple, it’s quite the sight to behold!!

I have to get ready to dive, have a great day!!

Barry

Jul 16, 15     Comments Off on Porcupinefishes, Boxfishes, Fish Faces, Fish

BAR-

Good morning all….. Get this, yesterday morning I saw a rain storm coming while at work and raced home to get the dogs off the porch and put them inside, little did I know Aimee had already done this. When I got home and saw the dogs were not on the porch I turned around (I was on my bike) and headed back to work which is only about a mile. No sooner did I leave and it started to sprinkle and within seconds it started to pour! I immediately gave up trying to outrun it and just enjoyed this long overdo shower and even though it only lasted a few minutes it was enough to make some puddles and give everything a little drink, it was great! I arrived back at work soaked to the bone, so wet in fact that my co-workers grabbed a camera and started taking photos. This was the 1st rain in a long time, the island is completely brown and sad looking so we will take any little shower we can get at this point.

Someone was asking about my resident porcupinefish and if he or she was still there and the answer is YES! When I went out to photograph the sub yesterday he swam out to greet me on the way by and then gently turned around and swam back into his private little cave in the rocks, this fish is just too cool for words! Most days when I swim out he or she is floating high out in the water column above the reef all my itself maybe looking for passing jellyfish or some kind of yummy food. Or because he is so high up above the reef could be searching for a possible mate, who knows, I’m just glad he is still there, it’s always a joy to see this fish out in our crystal clear waters.

 Porcupine fish are part of a family of fish that are called Diodontidae, and are quite often more commonly called the puffer-fish, or the blow fish. They are not in reality puffer-fish, but are related to them. The Porcupine fish sports on its body a wide array of spines that stand erect when the fish inflates and are very often mistaken for puffer-fish. The Porcupine fish has the unique ability of being a fish that can blow up their bodies, or inflate them. They do this by swallowing air or water and will become literally as rounds as a basket ball. The porcupine fish can enlarge himself almost double the size that he was. Scientists think this is another method of self defense for the porcupine fish. He does this to lower the predators who can prey on him to about half what they normally would be if he did not have this ability. His second and probably best defense is that he bears many rows of very sharp spines, and when the porcupine fish blows himself up to full volume, they become erect, and stand straight up and out. Some species of Porcupine fish also bear a venom, or poison that is emitted from the spines. They have what is called a Tetrodoxin within the skin as well as or in addition to in their intestines which means you take your life into your own hands if you want to eat one and preparation should only be done by an expert. As a result of their great methods of self defense the porcupine fish has very few predators that will take them for food. Adult porcupine fish are sometimes a meal for larger fish such as the shark and the Orca, or whale, although this is only rare in occurrence. The younger or juvenile porcupine fish may sometimes be taken and eaten by larger tuna or by dolphins.

Hope all is going well out there, have a wonderful day…

Barry

Jul 15, 15     Comments Off on Fish Faces, Parrotfish Images, Smiling Fish

BAR-

Good morning gang, more weird weather today, the ocean is still a mess and we have overcast skies with little chance for rain and of course lets not forget the never ending winds! We do have another submersible run today which should happen at around 11:15 and your truly will be under the sea taking pictures, you might luck out and see us at the link below….

www.seasubmarine.com

I have another fun fish face for you all today that I took a few weeks ago on our Substation house reef. This is a beautiful parrotfish shot during the day at F22 creating the non-distracting black background and lots of great details. Like all parrotfish they have the most unique and comical facial expressions, it’s trying to get them to look at the camera that is the hard part! Here is Curacao we have so many different parrotfish with names like…. Rainbow, Queen, Stoplight, Princess, Striped, Redband, Redtail, Yellowtail, Greenblotch, Bucktooth and Bluelip. There is also the Blue and the Midnight but you will have to go Bonaire to see those and there is a little Emerald but I have never seen one around here.

Parrotfish are so-called because their fused teeth give their mouths a beak-like appearance. These teeth are situated outside the jaw bones, so the beak protrudes beyond the mouth. This is perfect for scraping algae from the surface of rocky substrates, but can also get past one of the algae’s defenses — growing within the matrix of the coral itself. In some species, such as the hump-headed parrotfish, the beak can take a chunk out of the reef itself. Interestingly, although the parrotfish eat the polyps themselves, these herbivorous fishes are probably primarily Interested in the zooxanthellae contained within the coral’s tissues, rather than the coral itself.

To counteract their tough diet, parrotfishes teeth grow continuously. But those that form the beak are not the only teeth that these remarkable fish have; the plate-like pharyngeal teeth towards the back of the mouth can bring considerable crushing force to bear, pulverizing even the tough limestone. After this, the coral’s resistance is at an end. In the fish’s gut, living tissue is separated from the limestone rubble and powder. This ground material is ejected by the parrotfish as fine, white grains, which makes up a considerable proportion of the highly prized white sand found in coral reef lagoons and beaches!

It’s trying to rain outside and we of course welcome any attempt!

I have to get in the water….

Barry

Jun 25, 15     Comments Off on Blue Light Underwater Images, Lionfish

BAR-

Good morning friends, for the past three weeks on wednesdays evenings Aimee and I have been working on a big blue-light fireworm project that I should have done for you to see in the next few days. What we have been doing is collecting fireworms during the day under our floating platform (there are tons) putting them in little cups with lids, dropping in some food and then putting the cups in a mesh bag and attaching it to our down line where it stays until darkness. I collect the worms during the day because at night they are harder to find, they tend to hide under rocks and if you went looking for them at night you wouldn’t find as many. Then at around 6:30, we jump in with the camera that is all set up for blue-light photos, untie the fireworms (who are eating away) and down we go to around 65 feet to a selected vase sponge and dump them in. Good thing for me fireworms are slow moving, this gives me plenty of time to shoot them all and Aimee is next to me with a long zip-tie making sure they stay in the sponge until I tell her we are good to go. Every fireworm glows a different color under blue-light, so we thought why not create a fun collage with them all, it’s something you won’t see anywhere else. Normally we have been taking around 15-20 fireworms down at a time (last night only seven) and once finished with them they are free to go out onto the reef, we actually have way to many under the platform because our fisherman toss dead fish into that area all the time creating a fireworm paradise of sorts! Our dive last week was super crazy from start to finish…. It started the second we dumped the fireworms into the vase sponge, Aimee started screaming underwater and grabbed my BC and pulled me away from the sponge which later proved to be a very smart move! I looked up at her and she pointed down to a giant six foot spotted moray eel that must have smelled the little pieces of fish that where in the fireworm containers, he was super aggressive and very hungry! We couldn’t get rid of him and Aimee was still screaming but had now gone higher off the reef to safety while I instead decided to defend my ground and my fireworms, I mean heck I didn’t go through all this work to get chased off by a crazy eel! The eel was now on the sponge and smelling the fish, I put my camera between me and him and tried to scare him away but this only made things worse! He grabbed my camera in his mouth and shook it violently but I held on, he’s wasn’t about to get away with this! He finally let go and I used my fins to fan him away but all he did was swim about eight feet away to where he thought it was safe and parked himself there for the whole dive making my woman crazy with fear the whole time. Yep, the things we do for these photos, most of you will never know! The rest of the dive was pretty much complete chaos, I would be trying to shoot the worms and then Aimee would either scream or turn my body away from the eel that was apparently trying to swim up off the reef and bite my legs when I was shooting, good thing Aimee was there to keep an eye out. He did come back over to us multiple times and we did toss the fish pieces down to him in hopes of getting rid of him but feeding him had the opposite effect. In the end I got a few good shots of the worms but not what I needed that’s why we went again last night. Then after all this excitment I looked at my air guage and noticed I was pretty much out of air and still at 60 feet, again thank-God Aimee was there! So last night we again had a eel problem but minor compared to the last dive. This time it was a giant six foot plus green moray eel that was parked at our sponge. These eels are not as aggressive and I gently used my fins to scare him away but not before noticing he had a black brotula swimming in and out of his mouth and cleaning his face, man was that ever cool, talk about your RARE fish sightings! We had already released two fireworms into the vase when I noticed out of the corner of my eye, way down deep on the reef a giant southern stingray swimming under us, he was amazing! We both left the worms and swam out over the reef and watched him hunting for food on the reef below us, I think he was at around 110 feet. I can’t even tell you how bad I wished I was holding a camera with a wide angle lens, I would have loved to have photographed that stingray, it was hands down the biggest one I have ever seen! After watching him slip into the darkness we both went back to work shooting our seven worms which takes longer than one would think. On our way up the reef we ran into your photo of the day, a big lionfish out hunting and as you can tell blue-lights don’t really react to these fish that much but it’s kind of a cool effect.

Myth #1: Lionfish are poisonous.

Truth: Lionfish are venomous, not poisonous– there is a difference. Although both venomous and poisonous animals produce a toxin that can be harmful to other organisms, the method of delivery is different. Venomous organisms use a specific apparatus like spines or teeth to inject their toxin. Poisonous organisms, on the other hand, require their victim to ingest or absorb the toxin. Lionfish possess venomous dorsal, pelvic, and anal spines that deliver toxin through an unpleasant puncture wound. Each spine is surrounded by a loose sheath that is pushed down during envonemation, compressing two venom glands located down then length of the spine. Neurotoxic venom then travels through two parallel grooves up the spine and into an unhappy victim. On the bright side, this means that as long as you stay away from the spines, you’re good to go!

I have a sub dive soon that I need to prepare for, have a wonderful day all!

Cheers, Barry

Jun 23, 15     Comments Off on Fish Eyes, Trumpetfish Eye, Fish Faces

BAR-

Good morning all, we are getting the submersible ready for a dive this morning and should be underway at around 11:15. If your lucky you can see us pass by at around 50 feet on our live online camera at www.seesubmarine.com  remember there is a one hour delay so what your seeing actually happened one hour ago.

We have been under cloudy skies these past few days but still zero rain, I would do just about anything for a little rain right now, the island needs it so badly. Aimee and I continue to get up early every morning and haul as much water and bird seed out to our multiple water feeding stations in the desert, it’s such an easy thing to do and the animals are loving it!

I have a close-up shot of the eye of a giant red trumpetfish for you all today that I took a few weeks ago while out trying to get more “fish faces” with my macro lens. These fish are not shy at all and you can get very close to them especially if they are in hunting mode. They spend their days hanging upside down waiting for some poor fish to pass by, they are really quite the hunters and have an amazing amount of patience, kind of like a waiting scorpionfish.

Trumpetfish occur in waters between 0.5 and 30 meters (1.6 and appr. 100 feet) deep and can grow to 40 to 80 cm (appr. 15 to 31+ inches) 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, it is known that the females have mature eggs from March to JuneTrumpetfish are closely related to cornetfish. 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 a long, tubular snout. 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.

There is another fish similar to a Trumpetfish called a Cornetfish often mistaken for a trumpetfish. The key visible difference is the tail, pointed “T” in a cornetfish and rounded fan-shaped in a trumpetfish. In the years I have been here in Curacao I have only seen two cornetfish, they are so hard to find and very scared of their own shadows!!

I have to get ready to dive…

Have a wonderful day.

Barry

 

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