Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last 12 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.
Aug 3, 11 Comments Off on Sargassum Swimming Crab, Portunus sayi, Curacao
Good morning friends. Yesterday because of the new tropical storm Emily our ocean became pretty calm and the ocean currents below went wild. When this happens it brings large amounts of floating sargassum into shore which as know or don’t know is home to thousands of little creatures. As it drifted in I strapped on a tank, grabbed my camera and rushed out to see what I could find. I immediately saw little fish hiding everywhere in the floating mass but trying to get photos was almost impossible as everything is moving, including me and the camera. I was lucky to spot this beautiful Sargassum Swimming Crab, Portunus sayi and watched as it blended in with the free-floating masses of orange-brown Sargassum seaweed that seasonally drift onto the beaches of Curacao. Sargassum Swimming Crabs rely on their fantastic camouflage and ability to swim for survival. As with other swimming crabs, they come equipped with tiny swim paddles on their hind legs. They are, however, also capable of crawling on land. Sargassum swimming crabs aren’t alone in this fragile, complicated mini-ecosystem. There are as many as 70 species living in these floating masses. Their neighbors include larval crabs, shrimp, flatworms, hydroids, tiny fish, frogfish, turtles, seahorses and nudibranchs. Sargassum swimming crabs both aggressively hunt and wait for prey to wander close enough to deliver an unsuspecting lethal jab. The crabs also feed on less complex invertebrates, such as hydroids and bryozoans, which also inhabit the seaweed. These layers of interdependence in their enable these crabs and other species to coexist and keep their shared sargassum home in balance.
I hope all is well out there and that you all are enjoying your summer, we would love to hear from you! Off to work, Barry