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’

Feb 5, 14     Comments Off

Hello readers, I found another new fish!! I’m pretty sure this is a Ringed Blenny, Starksia Hassi but feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I found this little one inch beauty fish hiding down inside a branching vase sponge in around 25 feet of water. In the small amount of information I found it says these fish normally inhabit deep coral reefs from 75-160 feet but this one was no where near those depths?? 

The common name blenny (deriving from the Greek ἡ βλέννα and τό βλέννος, mucus, slime) is ambiguous at best, as it has been applied to several families of perciform marine, brackish and some freshwater fishes all sharing similar morphology (shape) and behavior. There are six families considered “true blennies”, all grouped together under the suborder Blennioidei; its members are referred to as blennioids. There are approximately 833 species in 130 genera within the suborder.

Blennioids are generally small fish, with elongate bodies (some almost eel-like), relatively large eyes and mouths. Their dorsal fins are often continuous and long; the pelvic fins typically have a single embedded spine and are short and slender, situated before the pectoral fins. The tail fin is rounded. The blunt heads of blennioids often possess elaborate whisker-like structures called cirri. As generally benthic fish, blennioids spend much of their time on or near the sea floor; many are reclusive and may burrow in sandy substrates or inhabit crevices in reefs, the lower stretches of rivers, or even empty mollusc shells.

These fish are superficially quite similar to members of the goby and dragonet families, as well as several other unrelated families whose members have occasionally been given the name “blenny”.

Having a busy day with the submersible today!!

Take care out there!

Barry

Jan 31, 14     Comments Off

Good morning friends, it’s finally Friday!!! It’s been a weird week for me with a strange like cold that is still holding on which has been keeping me from diving and biking. The island is again being hit with high winds which in turn create rough seas and colder weather but the good side is, no mosquitos!!

I have a photo of my buddy Mark from the World famous Dive Bus Hut playing with or following two beautiful Whitespotted Filefish, Cantherhines macrocerus. These are usually very easy fish to approach and photograph because they are so curious and a complete joy to watch.  

Filefish (also known as foolfish, leatherjackets or shingles) are tropical to subtropical tetraodontiform marine fish of the diverse family Monacanthidae. Found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, the filefish family contains approximately 107 species in 26 genera. Filefish are closely related to the triggerfish, pufferfish and trunkfish.

Their laterally compressed bodies and rough, sandpapery skin inspired the filefish’s common name; it is said that dried filefish skin was once used to finish wooden boats.

Appearing very much like their close relatives the triggerfish, filefish are rhomboid-shaped fish that have beautifully elaborate cryptic patterns. Deeply keeled bodies give a false impression of size when these fish are viewed facing the flanks. Filefish have soft, simple fins with comparatively small pectoral fins and truncated, fan-shaped tail fins; a slender, retractable spine crowns the head. Although there are usually two of these spines, the second spine is greatly reduced, being used only to lock the first spine in the erect position; this explains the family name Monacanthidae, from the Greek monos meaning “one” and akantha meaning “thorn”. Some species also have recurved spines on the base of the tail (caudal peduncle).

The small terminal mouths of filefish have specialized incisor teeth on the upper and lower jaw; in the upper jaw there are four teeth in the inner series and six in the outer series; in the lower jaw, there are 4-6 in an outer series only. The snout is tapered and projecting; eyes are located high on the head. Although scaled, some filefish have such small scales as to appear scaleless. Like the triggerfish, filefish have small gill openings and greatly elongated pelvic bones creating a “dewlap” of skin running between the bone’s sharply keeled termination and the belly. The pelvis is articulated with other bones of the “pelvic girdle” and is capable of moving upwards and downwards in many species to form a large dewlap (this is used to make the fish appear much deeper in the body than is actually the case). Some filefish erect the dorsal spine and pelvis simultaneously to make it more difficult for a predator to remove the fish from a cave.

The largest filefish species is the scrawled filefish (Aluterus scriptus) at up to 110 cm (43 in) in length; most species are below 60 cm (24 in) in length. There is marked sexual dimorphism in some species, with the sexes possessing different coloration, different body shapes, and the males with larger caudal spines and bristles.

Have a great weekend all, 

Barry

Jan 27, 14     Comments Off

Good morning friends, how was your weekend??? I know a bunch of you out there are locked in freezing temps and snow so it would be mean of me to tell you how sunny and beautiful it is here so I won’t even go there! I spent a good part of Saturday getting our car ready for it’s annual inspection which it did not pass last year! Each year here in Curacao you have to take your car to a government run inspection agency and pray your car passes. We just spent the last few months having rust holes repaired, putting new shocks on and doing tons of motor stuff like a new radiator and getting a tune up, so it should pass now, cross your fingers! I also spent Saturday building a big outside area for our four little red footed turtles. For the past year we have had them up on our porch in these big terrariums with caves and ponds but now it’s time to get them into a bigger, more fun environment. Yesterday, Sunday was our annual “Run for the Roses” event which is the islands largest cancer fund raising events and draws thousands of people. The events you can enter are, the walk, all different lengths, the run, a 2.5K swim out in the ocean and the extreme mountain bike ride which I did and won. Aimee did the long, cold swim with around 500 other people and finished in around 44 minutes and she did one of the bike rides as well. Our friend Stijn won the 60k bike ride and even though all these events are for fun and supposed to be non-competion events we all end up going all out just the same.

I have a beautiful, rarely seen Tiger Grouper, Mycteroperca tigris for your viewing pleasure today. The tiger grouper (Mycteroperca tigris) is a species of fish in the Serranidae family. This grouper has a tapered body, often reddish, with vertical stripes on its sides. It also may have, darker, dusky lines on the sides of its body. Young individuals are bright yellow and I have only ever seen one and never got a photo. This fish lives in sheltered reef areas. Growing up to 35 in (86 cm) long, the average weight is around 10 pounds. Groupers are big robust predators that draw in food by sucking it into their mouths. They usually live in five to 20-50 feet of water but with that said the one and only yellow juvenile I once saw was in 80 feet of water?? 

Considered solitary species occurring in coral reefs and rocky areas, it is considered an ambush predator that hides among the coral and sponges and is easy to approach. Although awkward in appearance, groupers can cover short distances quickly. Feed mainly on fish, which is drawn into their gullets by a powerful suction created when they open their large mouths. Held securely by thousands of small, rasp-like teeth that cover the jaws, tongue and palate, the prey is swallowed whole. This species is protogynous hermaphroditic, all fish smaller than 37 cm are female and all fish larger than 45 cm are male.

Have a wonderful day all, we are starting a new photo campain for Ikelite starting tonight so stay tuned for some fun new stuff.

Barry

Dec 27, 13     Comments Off

Good morning one and all, how was your Christmas??? We had a total blast from start to finish here in Curacao, the only thing missing was our friends and family!! Christmas morning we were up at 5:30 like little kids, first turning on all the Christmas lights, then whiping up a batch of Highlander Groog coffee, then feeding the dogs and finally onto shredding presents, what a blast!! Then since it was dead quiet on the island, not even a car to be seen, we loaded up the dogs and headed to the North coast for a crazy fun morning of driftwood collecting and exploring. We ended up hitting the driftwood jackpot finding an area hidden from others and it was completely full of new pieces of wood, I think we dug in that pile for over an hour. Once loaded up and on our way out we ran into our sub pilot Bruce who had just gotten out of the water from his morning surf session. As luck would have it, he said to toss the wood in the back of his truck and he would deliver it, I mean really what are the odds, that saved us from a ton of walking. Once home we made a Christmas breakfast to die for and then chilled out and watched a few movies. In the evening we went over to Stijn’s grandparents and had a Christmas dinner that few could have topped! It was served in courses and each new plate brought out was better then the last followed by a desert that could be served in any five star restaurant, what a great evening!

Sunday morning we left the house at 7:00am and took the dogs and our friend Mandy to Willibrordus and did a three hour walk around the whole salt lake, talk about a major adventure!!! On the hike we saw what we thought was dog poop everywhere and quickly discovered it was from wild pigs??? We have wild pigs here?? I never knew this and we even saw one running from a distance but it was too far away to get a photo. This turned out to be the longest hike we have done on the island and I think the dogs thought we were lost and never going back! I highly recommend this walk to all who love walking but bring plenty of food and water, this is about an 8 mile walk. Once back to the car the dogs collapsed in the back seat with a smile on their faces and were asleep in minutes, “a tired dog is a good dog”! We got back home at around 11:00 and after another great breakfast feast we went down into the air-co and watched a movie and worked on our new batch of photos that will soon be for sale. In the evening I went on a bike ride while Aimee worked on her desert wood horse project. She’s been building a horses head out of wood for the past few weeks and it’s really looking great, will take a photo for you when it’s finished. So that’s our weekend in a nutshell, what did you all do??

I had a request for a school of fish and found this one for you this morning. These are smallmouth Grunts that we found living under the Salt-Pier in Bonaire.

The smallmouth grunt (Haemulon chrysargyreum) is a member of the grunt family (Family Haemulidae) that live on coral reefs in the Western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Grunts derive their name from the make grunting sound they make with their pharylgeal teeth.

Also known by the common name banana grunt, the smallmouth grunt may range from 17 to 23 centimeters in length. Individuals of this species have an elongated cylindrical body with a forked tail and have a series of five or six yellow stripes running horizontally down their body on a silver background. They have a yellow tails and dorsal fins. Smallmouth grunts claim their common name because their mouths are smaller than other grunts.

Smallmouth grunts are generalist carnivores that feed on plankton, copepods, mollusks, and shrimps. They hang around the reef during the daylight hours. After sunset, they travel to open water where they feed.

Smallmouth grunts feed at night and spend their days hiding under ledges of within the braches of elkhorn coral and staghorn coral. The ocassionally form large schools on coral reefs.

Studies at the Saba Reef, one of the richest fish assemblages in the Caribbean Basin, have indicated the chief threats to Haemulon chrysargyreum and other reef fishes are overfishing and the residual impacts of the particular chemical dispersant used by the USA in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; this chemical has high persistence and known toxicity to a gamut of marine fauna. Studies by Burke et al. suggest that concentrations of dispersant and other water pollutants are of particular concern in critical lagoon nurseries; these studies suggest that the toxicity of residual dispersant may be much more significant to reef fishes than the actual petroleum release of an underwater oil spill. The dispersant used in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Corexit 9500, is known to be much more toxic than the petroleum chemicals it is meant to disperse; moreover, the combined toxicity of Corexit 9500 and petroleum is more toxic to juvenile fish than either chemical set by itself.

We have an 11:00 dive, I need to get ready!!

Have a great day, Barry

Dec 10, 13     Comments Off

Hi all, I have a lionfish eyeball for you all today mainly because I don’t have anything else to send! How is this possible you ask when I am always in the water with a camera?? Well, most days I’m just shooting the submersible with it’s passengers and lately at night only blue-light photos so I really don’t have anything new at the moment. We did do a deep-water fish collecting dive yesterday so I may have some new rare aquarium fish pictures for you soon but they are still out on the reef and take a week to decompress and acclimate to the warmer temps. I took this lionfish eye photo the other night while out searching for small corals that we had previously shot with blue-light. Lionfish can be tricky to photograph as they always face towards the reef when first approached with their venomous spines erect signaling to one and all to keep away! This is where another diver (lionfish whisperer) comes in handy to help turn them a bit into the camera so you don’t just get a rear end photo. At night these fish like many others are very easy to approach and it’s the best time to get some cool photos, especially close-ups!! 

It’s hard to believe Christmas is just a few weeks away, where-o-where did this year go??

Have a wonderful day all, Barry

Dec 2, 13     Comments Off

Good morning friends, well good news, Dorian and I won the 60k (short Loop) “Curacao Extreme Mountain Bike Race” and Stijn and his team-mate placed second in the longer 80k loop. The race started at 7:00 Sunday morning and to say it was a full house would be an understatement, I never knew we had so may bikers in Curacao! This is an endurance race consisting on single-track trails, paved sections and dirt roads which we completed in under 3 hours with no bike problems at all! Stijn was seconds away from placing 1st but with a very narrow finish line it could not be done. I am super proud of both Stijn and Dorian, they have been my two star pupils for years and finally all our riding and technical training is paying off, these two have mountain bike skills that so many lack here.

Here is a little parrotfish, either a striped or a princess (I can’t tell) excreting a mucus slime that will cover it’s whole body for the long, dangerous night ahead. We don’t see this too often but we know a lot of parrotfish are doing this every night because of all the empty slime sacks we see floating around the reef in the morning. My experience has been if you really want to see this you have to dive a bit later in the evening as it takes them awhile to make and excrete the cocoon. The few I have seen are also very hidden in the rocks, I have never seen one do this out in the open and they seem to do this more here in the shallows than deep.

A number of parrotfish species, including the queen parrotfish (Scarus vetula), secrete a mucus cocoon, particularly at night. Prior to going to sleep, some species extrude mucus from their mouths, forming a protective cocoon that envelops the fish, presumably hiding its scent from potential predators. This mucus envelope may also act as an early warning system, allowing the parrotfish to flee when it detects predators such as moray eels disturbing the membrane. The skin itself is covered in another mucous substance which may have antioxidant properties helpful in repairing bodily damage, or repelling parasites, in addition to providing protection from UV light.

We have a sub dive in a few minutes and I have a night dive as well tonight, will write more later. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Barry

Nov 29, 13     Comments Off

Good evening one and all, so sorry again about not getting this out earlier but like I have said all week, I just can’t find the time lately. I trust and pray that all my Americans out there had a wonderful turkey day with all the fixins! Here in Curacao there was no turkey to be found so instead we went out to eat at our favorite place called “the Ribs Factory”. Aimee had ribs I had hot wings, it was the closest thing to turkey I could get and I must say it was down right delicious but with that said it still wasn’t the same as a home cooked Thanksgiving meal. I know, quit your complaining you live in the Caribbean!! 

So today went by so fast I can hardly recall all I did. The day started with an hour walk with the dogs, then watched an episode of Boardwalk Empire that my mom recently sent down and then off to work for a dive with the sub which brings us to your photo of the day. As much as I hate these lionfish for invading the Caribbean and gobbling up all our baby fish they are still one of the most beautiful fish I have ever seen and I honestly can’t resist the temptation of photographing them on a daily basis. I think one of the top reasons I find them so intriguing is because unlike so many other fish that don’t want you anywhere near them, these fish will pose all day long for you and seem to have no fear of anything! This one here was at around 90 feet just hovering completely motionless above a coral head and let me get within inches of him or her for this shot, again it could have cared less! 

Lionfish or Pterois volitans, which makes up approximately 93% of the invasive lionfish population, is also commonly called “red lionfish” and Pterois miles is often called the “common lionfish” or “devil firefish.” However, their common names do not match the origins of their scientific names. The genus name, Pterois, pronounced (tare-oh-eese) is defined in modern dictionaries as simply “lionfish”, however the word Pterois comes from the Greek word “pteroeis” meaning “feathered” or “winged” and the Ancient Greek word, “πτερόν” (pteron), meaning “feather” or “wing”. The species name, volitans, pronounced (vole-ee-tahnz), is Latin for “flying” or “hovering” and the present participle of the Latin word “volitō,” which means “to fly” or “to hover. ”The species name, miles, pronounced (mee-layz), is Latin for “soldiering” and the present participle of the Latin word “mīlitō”, which means “to soldier.

No one is quite sure where the name “lionfish” really came from but it would be a logical guess that when both pectoral fins are completely extended and fanned out a head-on view of the lionfish might resemble a male lion’s mane. Others have also suggested that it might be a tip of the hat to the lionfish as a ferocious predator.

Dinner is calling! Have a great weekend!

Barry

Nov 22, 13     Comments Off

Hi gang, it’s finally Friday!! So what are you all doing this weekend?? And don’t tell me nothing because even if it’s cold there’s something to do!! I have to say, the one thing we miss living down here are the seasons!! It’s always sunny and always hot and unfortunately we have to run our air-co’s every single day just to survive, especially at night! This past week was really brutal with the no wind and the recently hatched mosquito population which we are battling non-stop with our electric mosquito zappers that look like miniature tennis rackets.

We had an early morning run today with the submersible meaning I was already underwater taking photos and am now waiting for it’s return. On my way out this morning at 13 feet I found a big octopus clinging to a small conch which he was using as a door to block his cool little cave, I will definitely have to go back later and try to get some photos. I also noticed my resident GIANT snapping shrimp is still in his same home after almost a year, I guess it’s all about location, location, location!!!

Your photo today is a cute Honeycomb Cowfish that lives on our Substation house reef and I see him or her just about every time I go out. There are so many different fish on our reef that have gotten used to seeing a diver on a daily basis and now, instead of fleeing, they will let you get pretty darn close, which is great if you have a camera! These cowfish are some of the most gentle creatures on the reef and are so much fun to watch. They have the ability to change or flash their colors in the blink of an eye very much like a squid or octopus, it’s one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

I have so much still to get done today including getting ready for a big mountain bike ride in the morning.

Have a wonderful weekend, Barry

Nov 15, 13     Comments Off

Good morning friends, I apologize for the NO Blog yesterday but I was swamped with trying to submit 800 plus new photos into the US Copyright Office which is a major undertaking and I’m still working on it! So on Wednesday I briefly mentioned that I had spotted a Peppermint Bass out on the reef and more than one reader wrote me asking if I had gotten a photo!?? Well on the day I had seen him which was at around 75 feet I DID NOT get a photo because he would not come out from his secret cave hidden deep in the reef. So like a good photographer I went back down yesterday just for you and waited and waited for him to come out and say hi. Finally just as I was running out of time and air, he did a quick “swim-by” and I swear if I would have not been ready I would have missed it!! I tell you what, this is a beautiful little sea-bass but they are so scared of divers and probably their own shadows! This is a very common fish on the reef but because they usually see a diver coming before we see them they are rarely seen! This little treasure was around 3 inches in length and live in depths from 10 to 140 feet.

Often called basses, these members of the sea bass family are generally more colorful than groupers. most are small, two to four inches, with the exception of Mutton Hamlet, Creolefish and Sand perch, which grow to nearly a foot. All are stocky like groupers, but tend to be more cylindrical and elongate. Sea basses are fundamentally bottom-oriented crustacean-feeders, except the Creolefish that pluck tiny zooplankton from open water high above the reef. Generally, the basses distinct color and markings make them easy to identify to species.

Carole Baldwin of the Smithsonian was telling me that these fish have been labeled as Basslets for a long time but are in fact Bass, so it’s Golden Bass and Peppermint Bass not Basslets.

Have a wonderful weekend all, I will be working on building my new mountain bike trail and doing some long rides!

See ya, Barry

Nov 12, 13     Comments Off

Good morning friends, I have two small but very beautiful fish for your viewing pleasure today that were found by the Smithsonian in the 600 to 800 foot range right out in front of the Curacao Sea Aquarium. This is a new species of Lipogramma which is currently being described and worked on by Carole Baldwin of the Smithsonain. The top photo is an intermediate or young Lipogramma (less than an inch) and the bottom photo shows the same fish in it’s terminal phase (about two and a half inches) and for once the older fish becomes more beautiful with age, normally it’s the juveniles that are so colorful! This is one of the hands down most docile fish I have ever seen, other than a scorpionfish, these fish don’t move around much and seem to just love to be parked and perched. As I learn more I will pass it on to you all out there in cyberspace so stay tuned for more.

I just got out of the water photographing the submersible and had a great dive, the water was super clear and the school of bonnetmouths had me completely surrounded!

Sorry so short, have a wonderful day!

Barry

Nov 6, 13     Comments Off

Good morning friends, here’s a fish that no longer needs an introduction but for those of you who don’t know, this is a recently introduced fish to the Caribbean called a Lionfish. It’s looking like these invasive predators are here to stay and it’s up to us to TRY to keep the numbers down by any means possible. And YES, I agree with everyone that says “they are so beautiful” but this is not a beauty contest anymore, it’s a fight to save our juvenile fish against a predator that has no limits when dining and doesn’t ever seem to get filled up?? 

Yesterday our submersible did a 7 hour tour off the coast of Curacao starting at Caracasbaai  and ending up back at the Sea Aquarium, that’s around 2.5 miles underwater exploring depths down to 700 feet! This was a scientific trip with Carole Baldwin from the Smithsonian Institution onboard with one mission in mind, to find new species of fish! They did return with some possible new fish but I unfortunately did not get any photos although we did photograph them in their natural habitat before collecting.

Had a fun bike ride last night with Stijn but the trails are still wet from our last big rain this weekend.

Have a wonderful all, sorry so short.

Barry

Nov 4, 13     Comments Off

Good morning from wet Curacao! Yes, it looks like our winter rains have begun and should continue now for the next three to four months. We woke to the loudest thunder and craziest lightning I have ever seen here Sunday morning and from about 4-9am it poured! Because of the insane tropical downpour the ocean was transformed into a instant muddy mess!! Runoff from storms is a major contributor to the reefs decline here in the Caribbean, it’s just too much sediment falling onto them all at once! So thanks to all this wet stuff my weekend was for once not filled with dog walks and being outside but instead stayed home on the computer and worked on some of my wood projects. Saturday morning I did a dive with the Smithsonian Institution and photographed them taking down some long term reef monitoring projects which I will send you photos of soon. In the afternoon I went on a two and a half hour ride with Stijn, we ended up riding from the Sea Aquarium to Porto Mari, then to Daniel and back home, it was pretty much a sprint the whole way!

I have a beautiful, 2-inch deep-water Batfish, (Malthopsis gnoma) that the Smithsonian Institution found at 760 feet in our new submersible called the Curasub. This little guy is perched on top of an old slit-shell and remained completely motionless the whole time. Batfish can swim but it’s a very crude movement, they are more of a walking fish then a swimmer.

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Lophiiformes (Anglerfishes) > Ogcocephalidae (Batfishes) Etymology: Malthopsis: Greek, malthe, es = a marine fish of soft flesh (Ref. 45335); gnoma: From the diminutive size and grotesque appearance of the species (gnoma = gnome-like)

Dorsal soft rays (total): 4-5; Vertebrae: 17 – 18. Fourth gill arch with filaments which are reduced in size compared to filaments in arches 2 and 3. Lateral-line scales: cheek 7; subopercular 5-8. Rostrum a short cone, usually tilted sharply upward. Disk strongly triangular-shaped with large, blunt, backward-sweeping subopercular spines. Bucklers on ventral surface of tail which are evenly distributed. Eyes directed laterally and slightly anteriorly; small mouth.

I have a photo on display today on the front page of NANPA if anyone has time to surf. http://www.nanpa.org/

Big day on tap, hope all is well out there!!

See you soon, Barry

Oct 30, 13     Comments Off

Good morning friends, how is your week treating you??? Make sure to tune in tomorrow as I have a special Halloween photo for you and I want you to guess what it is?? Sounds fun right??

Not a whole lot to report on the Smithsonian so far this week, they had two days of problems with collecting equipment on the outside of the sub and were unable to collect specimens but I’m sure today will be different!

I came across this tiny, half inch Slender Filefish the other day hiding alongside a big sea-fan and honestly I could hardly see him! In fact I’m not even sure how I spotted him to begin with because these fish are masters at changing their colors to match almost any background in the sea. Without the use of my artificial light (flash) he is almost invisible to the naked eye and these fish don’t move around, they just hang there and become part of their surroundings, it’s really one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. They also have these sharp little spines all over their bodies that can be used as a type of anchor, by this I mean if they lean into something like the sea-fan you see here those little spines help to hold them in one place making them even harder to see because there is no movement! The filefish gets it’s name from that spine on top of it’s head that can be raised and lowered depending on the danger level, here you see it is raised. If another fish tries to eat this guy the spine on his head will be raised making trying to swallow him a very difficult or deadly situation, they are not going down without a fight.

I had a great ride with Stijn and one of his team-mates last night, we basically did an hour and a half sprint on every trail we could find and some we rode more than once, it was super hot but major fun!

Have a great day, Barry

Oct 28, 13     Comments Off

Hello friends, how was your weekend??? First off before anything else, a few days ago, sometime last week I posted a blog on a little cactus coral and found out this weekend through a coral expert that is is not a cactus coral but is in fact a juvenile boulder brain coral instead or Colpophyllia natans, here is the link to the updated post, http://www.coralreefphotos.com/ridged-cactus-coral-mycetophyllia-lamarckiana-2/ I try my best to identify reef corals and creatures the best I can but often one thing looks like another especially in their juvenile forms so feel free to send me revisions on anything you ever see wrong.

My weekend was again just a blur and as I told you in my last blog we all had to work Saturday because of folks wanting to go down in the submersible. Saturday evening and Sunday I spent a few hours on my new mountain bike trail but it’s so hot out there this time of year that the dogs and myself could only take so much so work is slow! I did get a two hour ride in Sunday morning and fought crazy wind the whole way, talk about depressing!

Here’s something you won’t see too often. This is a large sized, Smooth Trunkfish, Lactophrys triqueter eating or trying to eat a Christmas tree worm!? Yes, they love these things but as I personally have observed “you gotta be fast”!! I watched this big trunkfish spot the worm he wanted and then he slowly and I mean slowly moved in for the kill (top photo) but if he wasn’t fast enough the worm would retract back down into it’s hole to safety. The second photo shows him giving up on attacking from the air and proceeded to just suck the worm out with his big powerful mouth loaded with suction! I can’t be 100% sure if he was successful in his wormy meal but he did have his mouth over the worms tube for over a minute so I am guessing he scored! After this worm he went on to another and another and another, I almost ran out of air watching him and had wished I had gotten that on video! Most of the time these fish can be observed hunting for crustaceans in the sand by blowing big puffs of air straight down into the sand, it’s also so fun to watch and they usually don’t care if you hover and watch.

Have a wonderful day all, the Smithsonian group is getting ready for a 4-5 hour run in the submersible in search of new finds, stay-tuned!!

Barry

 

Oct 24, 13     Comments Off

Good afternoon all, sorry so late but it’s been a crazy day so far! My day started with a trip to the airport at 4:30 in the morning as American flights now leave here at 7:00 instead of 8:00?? My wife is on her way back to the States to see her family and meet some friends and will gone for two weeks, so it’s just me, the two hound dogs and our four little land turtles!!! Also the Smithsonian group has started to arrive again and will be spending next week in search of new fish and creatures at the 1000 foot depth using our new state of the art, five person submersible called the “Curasub”. I have spent the last few days getting my aquariums cleaned out and ready in our deep-water lab for anything new and unusual that may need to be photographed that the scientists do find, so stay tuned for who knows what!!

The Caribbean reef is beautiful these past few days with crazy visibility and what seems like a record amount of baby fish! You can tune into our private underwater camera (it’s live at 50 feet) at www.seesubmarine.com and see what I’m talking about. If you sit in front of your computer long enough you will see divers, the submersible, myself with a camera and hundreds if not thousands of fish, I’ll let you sit there and count them!

Here’s a beautiful fish that is fairly unafraid of divers and will let you get pretty close, it’s called a Blue-striped Grunt, Haemulon sciurus.

Haemulon sciurus, the Blue-striped grunt, is a subtropical species of grunt native to the western Atlantic Ocean and was described by the English naturalist George Shaw in 1803.

Its common name comes from its blue stripes and from its habit of grunting by grinding its pharyngeal teeth. The swim bladder, acting as a resonator, amplifies this sound. The blue striped grunt commonly grows to a length of 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inches), and its maximum recorded length is 46 cm (18 inches). The maximum reported age is 12 years. It can weigh up to 750 grams.

The head and the body is yellow with many narrow, horizontal blue stripes. The stripe under the eye has a characteristic arch. There is one yellow dorsal fin with 12 dorsal spines and 16-17 dorsal soft rays. The anal fin is dusky yellow. It has three anal spines and nine anal soft rays. The soft dorsal and caudal fins are blackish. The scales above the lateral line are enlarged, while the scales below are oblique.The blue striped grunt is found in mangroves, seagrass beds, dropoffs and coral reefs at depths up to 30 meters. 

The blue striped grunt is found in mangroves, seagrass beds, dropoffs and coral reefs at depths up to 30 meters. Its range includes the Western Atlantic, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean down to Brazil.

The fish travels in schools with the smaller French grunt (H. flavolineatum), a close relative. Up to 1,000 grunts can form a school. The schools generally cruise near coral. Their diet consists mainly of shrimp and may also eat annelids, bivalves, and crustaceans.

Predators of the grunt are larger piscivorous fish, such as sharks.

Have a great day!! Barry

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