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.

Pages

Archive for the ‘Bony Fish’

May 4, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Good afternoon friends, I’m back!! I had another three day weekend and stayed far away from the computer, I love being out of touch! Aimee and I both refuse to enter the world of mobile phones, we only carry our antique Nokia disposable phones that have zero access to the internet, so no texting or surfing on the go for us.

My three days off went super fast but they sure were fun, just ask the dogs! Each day I took them on one 2-3 hour adventure and returned them worn out and dirty! After their baths,(which one of them really hates) these two lucky dogs lay in the comfort of an air conditioned room and snooze the afternoon away, sounds great right! A friend of ours once said…”I want to come back in my second life as one of your dogs” hah, that’s for sure!

Yesterday morning I rode my bike to Saint Joris Bay and collected driftwood inside the mangroves all by my little self for around 3 hours. For those of you who remember our driftwood Christmas tree that we have had now for a few years… well, I’m building a bigger one. The wood used for these trees has to be super smooth, beautiful pieces and here in Curacao these are getting very hard to find. So, I’m resorting to drastic measures and swimming inside the mangroves to look for trapped pieces that will never make it to the shore of any beach. This is a very dirty task which involves crawling and contorting your body in a million different positions kind of like the game of “Twister” but only inside mangroves! I ended up finding so much great material that I was unable to get any of it back on the bike, we came back with the dogs in the evening and loaded up! Once I get the new tree built I will send you a photo, it’s going to be beautiful!

I was underwater most of the morning photographing our mini-submersible, mondays are usually very busy around here.

Curacao is under a high-wind advisory and I think Dolphin Academy had to cancel programs due to big waves pounding the rocky shoreline!

Your photo above is a giant school of Black Margates that I found on the rough side of Bonaire a few years back, sorry the photo is so small.

I have to run, that’s it for today..

Barry

Apr 30, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Good afternoon from the windiest place on earth! I’m not kidding you when I say the wind is blowing like a hurricane, our normal blue sky is gone and has been replaced by a cloud of dust creating an island wide haze and it’s crazy hot! Aimee and I commented today that in the years we have been here we have never seen it quite this bad…. and to think I have to go biking in this tonight, boy I can hardy wait!

I have a little 5 inch long juvenile trumpetfish hiding in some gorgonians for you all today that I found a few days ago before this wind started. Around here baby trumpetfish are hard to find, maybe because they are masters at hiding and blending in. Without the use of my flashes you would have a hard time finding this guy on the reef as he just drifts vertically and really never moves. This fish can grow to be over 3 feet in length so finding one this small is quite a rare find.

Not much to report, everyone is inside hiding from this wind and from what I just heard, next week will be even worse??

We have another island holiday tomorrow, have a wonderful weekend all!!

Barry

Apr 28, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Good morning from Curacao! Sorry for the lack of blogs these past few days but we had another three day weekend due to another holiday and I was no where near my computer. Yesterday was “Kings Day”, one of the biggest holidays of the year, and NO Curacao does not have a King but the Netherlands does. Kings Day is the Kings birthday and is celebrated with everyone wearing orange, (the Netherlands national colors), wild non-stop parties and live events all day long, I stayed home!

I have two Slender Filefish for you all today in their pre-mating mode. This means the larger filefish on the left with his head spine erect and his large dewlap (belly appendage) is trying to court this lovely female. I watched this for quite awhile and wished I would have had a video camera. The male swims around and follows the female in hopes of some kind of reaction, he even nudges her with his nose at times and he can be quite persistent. These little three inch fish have the ability to change colors to match the environment they are living in and I swear if you take your eyes off them for a second you will have a hard time finding them again, their camouflage ability makes them difficult to spot. They seem to love gorgonians the most and swim or should I say drift vertically from one to another all day long changing colors to match the environment they are entering, it’s really one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in the sea.

Our island continues to be stuck in this drought and the wind is blowing non-stop! Aimee and I are taking water and food out to the trails around the clock to do our small part in helping to keep some of the animals alive, I don’t know how these survive through these horrible months!

I spent the last three days doing long morning dog walks, a little bike riding and getting a bunch of stuff done around the house.

Hope all is well out there…

Barry

Apr 23, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

BAR-

Good morning, I have a very gentle, super fun to watch, reef fish for you all today called a Banded Butterflyfish or Chaetodon striatus. The name is derived from the dark vertical bands on the fish’s body. This, combined with a vertical, black bar through the eye, is an adaptation that can confuse predators. These fish are around five inches in length, can be found easily in the 10-60 foot zone and  are usually always found in pairs. These two here can always be found in the same area and I have been swimming with them for years so they are more or less pretty used to me and my giant camera. As I was taking my pictures one of them (top photo) left the safety of the gorgonian and swam right up to the front of my camera and proceeded to just hang out there without a care in the World, it was great! Encounters like this allow me to get many hard to get shots like the straight on face shot which is usually the hardest of all shots to get. 

Aimee and I did a fun 20 mile mountain bike ride last night through the wilds of Curacao, it was hot, windy and dry but we had a great time!

We have two sub dives today, one at 11:00 and the next at 1:30, will be a busy day!

See you again soon…..

Barry

Apr 22, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

BAR-

BAR-

Hi all, I have fresh fish for you all today meaning I just took these photos about 30 minutes ago! This is a foot long Glasseye Snapper, Heteropriacanthus cruentatus that I found under a rocky ledge waiting for his photo to be taken. The top photo shows a perfect face shot dripping with expression and the second photo is the same fish stretching his mouth or yawning, talk about a big mouth!! The bottom photo shows our snapper in parked position where he will hang out for most of the day. At dusk these snappers will leave the safety of the rocks and head out onto the reef to hunt, thus the big eyes which helps them to navigate the reef at night, sure wish they would eat the lionfish!

Glasseye Snappers are common in lagoons and seaward reefs primarily around islands, down to 15 m. They generally prefer shallow reefs (a clue in distinguishing them from similar Bigeye, Priacanthus arenatus that prefer deep reef tops). Often hide in dark recesses of reefs by day, but occasionally drift out into the open near bottom. Nocturnal, feeding mainly on octopuses, pelagic shrimps, stomatopods, crabs, small fish and polychaetes. During the day usually singly or in small groups under or near ledges, but at dusk it may gather in large numbers.

Curacao is back to being BONE DRY with no rain in sight, I don’t understand how anything can survive out there, we really need rain!

Have a great day!

Barry

Apr 21, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

BAR-

BAR-

BAR-

Good morning from a tiny island in the Caribbean called Curacao!

I have a super cool fish for you all today called a Whitespotted Filefish, Cantherhines macrocerus, it’s one of our personal favorites! This fish has so many unique built-in features, it reminds me of a swimming Swiss Army knife! This fish has the ability to change and flash colors, it has a super cool retractable spine on top of it’s head, it can puff up it’s belly to look bigger and to lock itself into a crevice for protection and it has wild looking spines at the base of it’s tail, talk about cool!!!

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 day friends, I am off to the sea…

Barry

Apr 17, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Good morning from the Caribbean. I just got out from a long, cold hour and a half dive with my macro lens and other than my freezing cold hands it was great! Here’s one of the many fun shots I took this morning. This is a Sand Diver, Synodus intermedius with just his or her head showing and the rest of it’s body cleverly concealed beneath the sand patiently waiting for some poor unaware fish to swim by. This fish is around 12 inches in length but can be found up to around 18 inches. These fish are some of the most aggressive hunters on the reef equipped with hundreds of razor-sharp teeth and a body that is built for speed! I personally have never observed any fish that moves faster in attack-mode then these lizardfish, they go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye, they need to renamed and called a “Rocketfish”. Countless times I have been laying on the sand photographing some beautiful baby tropical fish unaware of the buried danger next to me. Then in the blink of an eye (or faster) this fish explodes out of the sand like a rocket, grabs my baby fish and leaves me feeling horrible for the rest of the dive! One time in Bonaire I had laid on the sand for 30 minutes shooting a baby razorfish when “POOF” out of no where he was eaten by this guy above and I remember almost being in tears when I got out of the water, it was very upsetting not to mention it scared the heck out of me! Now when I lay on the sand I do a complete check to make sure no danger is lurking, these fish just plain scare me!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…..

Barry

Apr 10, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Hello all, we are busy again today taking paid guests down in the submersible so I don’t have much time to blog. I had a request for a tarpon photo and I know I have a bunch but with 25 hard-drives full of photos that request could take some time. I had this shot already on my desktop as I had sent some photos to Sport Diver this week but like always I missed their deadline, there’s just too much to do! Tarpons are super large fish we have here in the Caribbean that can grow to eight feet in length, this one here was around six. 

The two species of tarpons are Megalops atlanticus (Atlantic tarpon), seen above and the Megalops cyprinoides (Indo-Pacific tarpon). M. atlanticus is found on the western Atlantic coast from Virginia to Brazil, throughout the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean. Tarpons are also found along the eastern Atlantic coast from Senegal to South Angola. M. cyprinoides is found along the eastern African coast, throughout southeast Asia, Japan, Tahiti, and Australia. Both species are found in both saltwater and freshwater habitats, usually ascending rivers to access freshwater marshes. They are able to survive in brackish water, waters of varying pH, and habitats with low dissolved O2 content due to their swim bladders, which they use primarily to breathe. They are also able to rise to the surface and take gulps of air, which gives them a short burst of energy. The habitats of tarpons vary greatly with their developmental stages. Stage-one larvae are usually found in clear, warm, oceanic waters, relatively close to the surface. Stage-two and -three larvae are found in salt marshes, tidal pools, creeks, and rivers. The habitats are characteristically warm, shallow, dark bodies of water with sandy mud bottoms. Tarpons commonly ascend rivers into freshwater. As they progress from the juvenile stage to adulthood, they move back to the open waters of the ocean, though many remain in freshwater habitats.

One of the unique features of Megalops is the swim bladder, which functions as a respiratory pseudo-organ. These gas structures can be used for buoyancy, as an accessory respiratory organ, or both. In Megalops, this unpaired air-holding structure arises dorsally from the posterior pharynx. Megalops uses the swim bladder as a respiratory organ and the respiratory surface is coated with blood capillaries with a thin epithelium over the top. This is the basis of the alveolar tissue found in the swim bladder, and is believed to be one of the primary methods by which Megalops “breathes”. These fish are obligate air breathers, and if they are not allowed to access the surface, they will die. The exchange of gas occurs at the surface through a rolling motion that is commonly associated with Megalops sightings. This “breathing” is believed to be mediated by visual cues, and the frequency of breathing is inversely correlated to the dissolved O2 content of the water in which they live.

Have a wonderful fun filled weekend out there!!

Barry

Apr 8, 15     Comments Off

Hi friends, I have another fun video for you all today of a big adult Stoplight Parrotfish sleeping with his head propped up on a rock and his body laying in the sand. Aimee and I never get tired of seeing this, I mean who would have even guessed that fish sleep?? On any given night dive we see about 20-30 parrotfish, all different species and sizes fast asleep in the weirdest of places! For instance we usually see parrotfish stuck in tube sponges or laying flat up against rocks and it’s not uncommon to find them inside barrel sponges and hidden under algae, honestly if you really look they are everywhere! When I find them out in the open like this one they can be very hard to approach as light will scare them. I’ve learned that coming in very slowly with a non-threatening approach usually works, just be calm and quiet, get in and get out! What cracks me up the most about these sleeping fish is…during the day you can wear yourself out trying to get close enough for a photo but at night they just lay all over the reef, it’s really quite the sight to behold!

I have a big bike ride tonight and tomorrow and friday we are running the submersible non-stop, it will be a busy 2 days!

Hope all is well out there…

Barry

Apr 1, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Hi friends, I’m having a very busy week and can’t seem to find time to sit at the computer. For those of you who have been to Curacao and stopped by our house you remember the giant driftwood horse-head that Aimee has been making for about a year now, well, it’s finally finished. Last night we loaded it into the car and brought it over here to the Substation and left it inside overnight. This morning she stopped by and we took a bunch of photos of her with her new creation, I promise I will post it soon, it’s really cool! 

The turtles are doing GREAT in their new luxury home and I finally got the old one torn apart at our house and got the yard back to normal. We have a four day holiday starting this Friday so I will head out there and check on them and make sure all is good and take a few more photos.

I have a big red trumpetfish for you all today, this one here almost let me touch him, he could have been the most calm/unafraid fish I have ever seen, I just love these kind of encounters!

Going mountain biking tonight even though it’s close to 100 degrees and the wind is blowing like a hurricane, talk about training in crazy conditions!

Sorry so short, I have to run, I’m busy with a project for the Smithsonian Institution.

Bye…

 

Mar 25, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Hi friends, I have a beautiful frogfish I found awhile back at close to 100 feet near the famous “Tugboat” dive site located at Caracasbaai. Like Sea horses and Batfish these animals are VERY hard to find because of their unique ability to blend into their environment! Most frogfish LOVE sponges, these are considered the Holy Grail of animals to find while diving so folks start looking at sponges more closely!

Frogfish are considered bottom dwellers. They have the unique ability to mimic surrounding sponges by varying its background hue to match that of the dominant sponge in the area. It also has multiple ocellii (eye-like markings) that look like the openings in a sponge. The frogfish uses its stalked pectoral fins and its pelvic fins to slowly “walk” across the bottom. Frogfishes have been observed inflating themselves by filling their stomachs with air or water. This is a solitary species found in small populations. It is the most common frogfish species in the West Indies and harmless to humans.

These fish are a short, fat, globular species, it generally does not exceed 8 in (20 cm), though 5 in (13 cm) is seldom exceeded. Its skin is thick and covered in highly modified scales called dermal spicules. These spicules are prickly in appearance and resemble the warts of a toad. The frogfish has small eyes, a very large mouth that is directed upwards, and pectoral fins situated on stalks. The gill openings are very small and located behind the pectoral fins. The basic color of the longlure frogfish is highly variable, ranging from pale yellow to bright red or dark green to reddish brown. Black spots are scattered across the body no matter what the base color. Multiocellatus means “many eye-like spots” in Latin. It also has a phase where the body is completely black, except for the ends of the paired fins which are white, and for a pale area that resembles a saddle on the back. The second and third dorsal spines are separate from the others and covered in thick skin.

A unique feature of the frogfish family is that the eggs are spawned encapsulated in a buoyant mass of mucus, referred to as an “egg raft”. This structure may serve as a transport of moving a large number of eggs over a large geographical distances. Spawning can be dangerous for the frogfish due to the cannibalistic nature of the species. The male and female march across the bottom before spawning, with the female leading and the male close behind. His snout usually is in immediate contact with her vent. The female is bloated with eggs during this time, often swelling to twice her normal size. The pair will then make a dash to the surface and the egg mass bursts from the female. The frogfish may spawn several times over a few weeks.

A voracious ambush predator, it feeds mainly on fishes, but also on crabs and mantis shrimp. The name “longlure” is refers to the elongated illicium which acts as a fishing lure. The illicium is the first spine of the dorsal fin, highly modified into a long rod with a lure (esca) at the end. In most species, the esca looks like potential prey, such as a worm, crustacean, or even a fish. The frogfish will lie in a sponge and wait for a fish to swim by. It will then wiggle the lure around to attract the prey. It is capable of swallowing a fish that is larger in size than itself. Like a recreational human angler, the frogfish will move to a different location if no fish are biting. The frogfish is reported to be the fastest animal alive. It can move and suck in prey at speeds as quickly as 0.006 seconds, so only high-speed film can catch the action.

Trying to recover this morning from a miserable 2o mile mountain bike ride last night! I started at around 4:00 in close to 100 degree temps, good thing I put a cold pack inside my camelback or I most likely would have passed out! My new weekly loop takes around 2 hours and it covers every trail on this side of the island, many are too difficult for most riders and if you fall you will for sure get hurt.

Doing a night dive tonight with Aimee, we will be testing out the new Ikelite UV setup so stay tuned for those photos tomorrow!

Have a wonderful day…

Barry

Mar 17, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Hello one and all, how is your week treating you?? I know I promised you tortoise photos today but we got out there too late in the day yesterday to make pictures, so like everything, it will have to wait a few more days. I made two large caves out of big rubber tubs “flipped upside down” that I am using as their night-time sleeping/safety area which are sealed at night (with plenty of air-holes). This way no rats or anything can bother them while they are sleeping and they will be safe during a hard rain.

Here’s a colorful photo of a big school of Blue Tangs cruising through the reef with a single goatfish (yellow fish) trying hard to blend in. I really had quite a laugh underwater watching this single goatfish, it’s like he always wanted to be a blue tang and figured they wouldn’t even notice if he hung out with them. We see these large groups called “aggregations” on the reef here every single day and I still never seem to get tired of it, they are just so beautiful. Adult blue tangs have three social modes: territorial, wandering, and schooling. Territorial adults defend their home rage from other members of the species. Schooling adults are not aggressive. Wanderer adults are not aggressive nor do they interact with other individuals like schooling fish do. Wanderers are mostly chased by other fish including Ocean surgeonfish and damselfishes. Occasionally, Blue Tangs form large multi-species aggregations with other surgeonfishes as seen above.

Blue tangs may benefit from forming schools for two reasons. First, individuals may experience lower rates of predation when feeding in large groups. Second, by feeding in groups, fish might be able to work together to overcome the territorial defenses of other fishes. For example, a single blue tang is easily chased away by an aggressive damselfish defending its territory. However, when a large school of blue tangs and their schoolmates try to feed on algae in a damselfish’s territory, there is little that the damselfish can do.  When this occurs, the damselfish frantically, but ultimately fruitlessly, attempts to chase away their more numerous attackers while the school consumes all of the algae in their territories.

Blue tangs are active during the day, hiding in crevices on the reef at night to avoid predators.

Juvenile blue tangs are solitary and occupy home ranges that increase with body size. Juveniles aggressively defend their home ranges from juvenile ocean surgeonfish. Juveniles also avoid damselfishes that overlap in range with them.

I think Aimee and I are diving tonight with the blue-lights after cycling but who knows, plans change quickly here!

See ya…

Barry

Mar 16, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

BAR-

BAR-

Good morning friends, I have three different colored Trumpetfish, Aulostomus maculatus for your viewing pleasure today, all found on one dive in front of the Sea Aquarium. These are the three main colors we have here in Curacao with yellow being the harder of the three to find and yellow being the harder to approach for some reason?? The top photo shows our red trumpetfish being cleaned by a juvenile French butterflyfish (black and yellow striped) and there is even a little goby on his back. 

Trumpetfish are long-bodied fish with an upturned mouth and often swim vertically while trying to blend with vertical coral, such as sea rods, sea pens, and pipe sponges. They are widespread throughout the tropical waters of western Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Brazil including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Trumpetfish occur in waters between 0.5 and 30 meters (1.6 and 100 feet) deep, and can grow to 40 to 80 cm (15 to 31 in) 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, the females are known to have mature eggs from March to June.

Trumpetfish are closely related to cornetfish which are rarely seen in Curacao. 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 their long, tubular snouts. 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.

I had a crazy busy weekend!! Last night was the first night my four tortoises slept in their new home, I more or less worried about them all night! I called this morning first thing and all is going great, will run out there today and take some photos and try to post it for tomorrows blog.

I have to get to the water…

Have a wonderful day.

Barry

Mar 11, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Bon Dia from Curacao! I have a cool Peacock Flounder for you all today that I photographed as he swam under me gliding down the reef to his next resting area. As many of you know we have a bunch of fish that are always in the same areas and can easily be found, this is one of them. Do I have names for them?? Well no, but I’m thinking I should, many have been here for so long and they are so used to me that I am able to get very close. 

The peacock flounder is also called flowery flounder because it is covered in superficially flower-like bluish spots. As suggested by the family name, lefteye flounders have both eyes on top of the left hand side of their heads. The eyes are raised up on short stumps like radar dishes, and can move in any direction independent of each other. That feature provides flounders with a wide range of view. One eye can look forward while the other looks backward at the same time. The baby flounders have one eye on each side of their bodies like ordinary fish, and swim like other fishes do, but later on, as they are becoming adult, the right eye moves to the left side, and flounders start to swim sideways, which gives them the ability to settle down flat on the bottom. The maximum length of this flounder is about 45 centimetres (18 in).

Peacock flounders are mostly found in shallow water on sandy bottoms. Sometimes they rest over piles of dead corals or bare rock. They may be found as deep as 150 meters (490 ft).

As most flounders, the peacock flounder is mainly nocturnal,but is sometimes also active during the day. It hunts for small fishes, crabs and shrimps.

Like all flounders, peacock flounders are masters of camouflage. They use cryptic coloration to avoid being detected by both prey and predators. Whenever possible rather than swim they crawl on their fins along the bottom while constantly changing colors and patterns. In a study, peacock flounders demonstrated the ability to change colors in just eight seconds. They were even able to match the pattern of a checkerboard they were placed on. The changing of the colors is an extremely complex and not well understood process. It involves the flounder’s vision and hormones. The flounders match the colors of the surface by releasing different pigments to the surface of the skin cells while leaving some of the cells white by suppressing those pigments. If one of the flounder’s eyes is damaged or covered by sand, the flounders have difficulties in matching their colors to their surroundings. Whenever hunting or hiding from predators, the flounders bury themselves into the sand leaving only the eyes protruding.

The wind is still blowing like crazy and I think today is supposed to be even worse? I went for a 20 mile ride last night and pretty much got blown away! I tried to ride trails that were in semi protected areas but the second I popped out into an open area it was like sitting on a stationary bike pedaling like crazy! 

Off to the sea……..

Barry

Mar 10, 15     Comments Off

BAR-

Good morning from one of the windiest places on the planet! Today and tomorrow we are expected to have insane winds here which is great for keeping the mosquitos away but bad for walking, diving and biking!

I have a mega beautiful Redlip Blenny, Ophioblennius macclurei sitting so patiently on the edge of a little overhang letting me take his or her photo, it was great! Normally these fish are very shy and although they will return to their same roost time after time it usually takes a lot of waiting and trying to gain their trust! Here in Curacao these little shallow water fish are found in two color variations. One is the reddish brown color (above) and the other is a beautiful grey with a red head but only the reddish brown one has the sexy Revlon colored lips! These fish can reach a maximum size of about five inches but rarely do I ever see them that big. They seem to prefer shallow water even if it’s rough, I see them often in the 1 to 35 foot zone.

Redlip blennies reproduce year-round in the ten days before and four days after the full moon in each month. The male and female pair up in the first three hours of daylight, and the female moves to the male territory. The male has to prepare a nest for depositing eggs. In order to prepare a nest, the male makes a “small box-like” space in its territory and removes coral rubble and dead algae crusts from the space. One male redlip blenny usually has five nests, and the amount of time he spends at each nest is determined by how much the nest is favored by females. Usually the most favored nest has a larger inner surface area and volume than the less favored ones. When a female redlip blenny enters a male’s nest, the female chooses whether or not to mate with the male. Larger males with larger nests have better chance of successful mating than smaller males with smaller nests. During spawning seasons, males reduce their feeding. The eggs are deposited in a single layer, and the male guards and cares for the eggs by blowing air onto them until they hatch as planktonic larvae. The egg batches in one nest may be at different developmental stages because the male redlip blenny is polygynous, mating with multiple females. In other words, the eggs have different mothers. Female redlip blennies tend to be polyandrous as well, meaning that there are multiple nests with one female’s eggs.

Female mate choice primarily relies on the male’s genetic quality (aka. how good his gene is) and/or his non-genetic quality. A male is recognized to have a good gene, if he has physical features that are suitable for survival. Usually, big body size indicates good genetic quality. Mating with a male of good genetic quality assures that the offspring will also have good genes and thus the physical features favorable for survival. This eventually will propagate the female’s own genes. The non-genetic quality includes many examples, such as a good parental care. A good parental care does not guarantee good genes for the offspring. However, a good parental care can increase the survival rate of the offspring, thereby spreading the female’s genes.

Female redlip blennies consider both the genetic and non-genetic quality of the male. First of all, they choose males largely based on their sizes (genetic quality). Larger males can better protect the female and the eggs against predators. Furthermore, larger male redlip blennies have larger antimicrobial organs at their anal-urogenital regions, which they use to prevent microbial infection in the eggs. Female redlip blennies also consider males’ allopaternal care when choosing mates (non-genetic quality). Allopaternal care proves to the female that the male is capable of protecting the eggs from predators. Finally, a statistical study showed that female redlip blennies may prefer older males because the age of the male could reflect his survival ability and thus guarantee the offspring better fitness (chance of survival).

The submersible is headed out in search of rare fish, I may jump in and shoot a new school of baby squids that we have here now but with the wind creating these big swells that may be difficult.

Have a great day…..

Barry

SEARCH

Archives

SEARCH CATEGORIES

Copyright © 2009 Barry B. Brown in partnership with Wild Horizons Publishing, Inc.

Coral Reef Photos is proudly powered by WordPress and designed by oneredkey
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

This website will keep you posted on Barry and Aimee’s daily adventures through on-going and
archived blogs with samples of Barry's work.
 
To license Barry's images, please visit the Wild Horizons' picture library. There you can browse through our stock image library, quickly determine licensing fees for on-line downloads, and order inexpensive photo art prints on-line.