She Wants the One With the Bug on His Head

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Some dives are more successful than others for the hunter.

Back in my gun-nut days, I used to shoot just about anything that moved. I drew the line at humans and barnyard animals.

Actually, not much has changed except I traded my Marlin Micro-Groove .22 Magnum rifle with the 9x scope for a camera. It’s much easier on the wildlife and quieter too.

I’ve been trying to shoot this critter for several years. Not the fish – the little parasite on its head:

Soldierfish with parasite

The fish is an Epaulette Soldierfish (Myripristis kuntee). He (it’s a male) would be about the size of your hand. What is interesting about him is the isopod parasite attached to its head.

I’m sorry that I can’t provide the reference (mind rot), but I distinctly remember reading an article in Scientific American, or New Scientist or some other rag that revealed an amazing fact.

Female soldierfish show a much higher selection preference for males that are carrying the isopod parasite on their heads. My sketchy observations lead me to think that about one in ten males in this area are ‘carrying’.

This leads to the sad conclusion that there are a lot of lonely-guy soldierfish out there.

If that didn’t amuse you, maybe this will:

Giant Poisonous Gumdrop Nudibranch 

I call it the Giant Poisonous Gumdrop Nudibranch. That’s just a pet name. I can’t find my nudibranch book, so I can’t give you Latin today.

If you went into a fancy candy shop in Vienna and saw this on the shelf as “Vanilla Liquorice Paradise” you would probably try one. It does look delicious. I have not sampled.

The next photo is of my favourite fish. Not this individual fish. I mean the Silver Sweetlips in general. Anything named sweetlips can’t be all bad.

The silver sweetlips will let you swim right up and flash your camera right into his eye – without a flinch!

This one has a little cleanerfish doing its business. A few seconds before I took this shot the cleanerfish was in the mouth of the sweetlips. That’s me. Always a little off time:

Silver Sweetlips and cleanerfish

I’m working on a collection of photos called “Nature’s Fabric Designs” (really). I’m fascinated by the repetitive but not quite perfect patterns that I see around me.

This is a section of coral about the size of your big toenail. (Don’t ask.) You’ll need to click on it to enlarge to be able to see the intricate detail: 

Coral close up

Someday I will sell my collection of nature’s patterns to a famous fabric design company and I will become fabulously rich.

I’ll throw a big party.

You are invited.

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6 Responses to “She Wants the One With the Bug on His Head”

  1. She Wants the One With the Bug on His Head : blog lowerautoinsurance Says:

    […] Original post by MadDog […]

  2. Robert@PNG Says:


    Were you as good with the shotty as you are now with the lens?


  3. MadDog Says:

    Hi Robert,

    I never used a shotgun. It didn’t feel sporting. I figured if I couldn’t hit a rabbit with my rifle, then it didn’t deserve to die. Let’s just say that we never went hungry. You get to be a very good shot when you know that the rabbit that you are aiming at is your dinner – your ONLY dinner.

    When I was in the military, I qualified expert or above on every weapon that I received training – a lot of them. An instructor told me that calm, lazy people make the best marksmen. I guess because they don’t shake as much.


  4. Common or Odd - Find It At the Eel Garden | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] often see this species and other Soldierfishes with a parasite on its head. Some studies have shown that females are more likely to mate with a male sporting a parasite. Have […]

  5. Good Golly, Guttata! | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] shown you this before in this post. As I mention there, the males that wear an isopod have more luck breeding; the females seem to […]

  6. Weird Light - Dallman Passage | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] It is amusing that, in this case, being parasitised might have an advantage. It seems that females are more attracted to males who wear a silly hat. You can read a little more about it here in this post. […]