Start With Fish!

Posted in Under the Sea on January 1st, 2010 by MadDog
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Man, I can’t believe that it’s 2010 already. I just got used to writing year numbers beginning with “2”. Now I have to retain my hand to leave out the “00” in the middle. What a bummer! I’ll probably jump ahead and start writing 20010. Hey wasn’t that a “thirties-something” TV series? No, wait, it’s the ZIP code for Washington, DC. See, I’m aimlessly rambling already. I hope that that’s not an omen.

Anyway, let’s start with things that are not  fish. This is not a fish:

As any fool can see, it’s a spider, a very familiar spider, on a yellow flower. I cannot stop taking pictures of these amusing little spiders. They are certainly prolific. On many days there will be one of these little fellows on nearly every blossom. I suspect that it also has a very specialised hunting technique targeted to insects that feed on and pollinate these flowers. It is obviously an ambush predator, as are many spiders. It does not depend on its web, which you can see if you click to enlarge. The web wraps around the central parts of the flower and may or may not take part in the capture. These spiders eat tiny striped-wing flies on which I have often seen them feeding.

And, this also is not  a fish, though the name implies otherwise:

It’s a Starfish (Linckia multifora)  on the old catamaran at the Eel Garden near Pig Island.

And, neither is this a fish. I got this shot to illustrate that everywhere you look in the sea you find the spiral. It’s one of natures’ most common themes:It is, of course, coral. Specifically, it’s Acropora clathrata.  Now you know. Isn’t that a relief?

Now, these are  fish. This rather disorganised mob of Striped Catfish (Plotosus lineatus)  are regrouping after being startled out of their tiny wits my me attempting to get close enough for a picture:They will shortly resume their normal feeding habit of marching above the sand in a line like soldiers policing up cigarette butts.

And, this is also a fish, the Pixy Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus):A very pretty fish it is. These look very much more interesting against a dark, blurred background. You can then better see the delicate structure of its dorsal fin, an exercise in excess detail. You can see what I mean in this post featuring the Dwarf Hawkfish, a closely related species. By the way, this is the red variation of the species. The other variation is less colourful.

So, let’s finish up with everybody’s favourite fish – Nemo:Nemo, a Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion percula)  is here with friends and me today to wish you a very happy New Year.

Now I have to start thinking seriously about my New Year’s Resolution.

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More Wongat Island Miscellanea

Posted in Under the Sea on February 27th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’m almost finished reminiscing about Wednesday afternoon’s dive. The torture will soon be over.

Amidst the abundant life there is a small anemone that has been near the bow of the Henry Leith   for many years. It is the true home of Nemo and his extended family. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Nemo lives in Madang and always has. All you kiddies out there, watch Nemo now. In case you are wondering, Nemo is the big one that keeps coming into the middle of the shot:Back over at the Green Dragon B-25 bomber I took this shot of the yoke (the “steering wheel”) with the usual bunch of tiny fish swimming around:

Yoke of the Green Dragon B-25 bomber in Madang, Papua New Guinea
Up on the tip of the port wing, where the giant barrel sponge is, I captured this Pixy Hawkfish [red variation] (Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus):
Pixy Hawkfish (red variation) (Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus)
Much, much too much work at work is driving me crazy. It’s cutting deeply into my playtime. Eunie will be travelling to the USA and Canada during April, May, and half of June. I will be a temporary bachelor – not one my favourite things.

Never mind. I’m planning a trip to the highlands to climb Mt. Wilhelm.  I’ll be writing an article f or Our Way  magazine about an insane Englishman who is planning to jump off of the top (with a parachute, one would assume). I’ll also be going on a research trip to Rabaul to get as close to the volcano as I possibly can. I promise you some interesting shots. I’ll also be doing some diving there and grab more images.

At 65 life is beginning to get interesting.

About time!

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Hawkfishes – Little Jewels of the Sea

Posted in Under the Sea on March 15th, 2008 by MadDog
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It’s Saturday morning, so I’m off for a dive. I don’t have much time for composition, so I’ll just show you some pictures. (with apologies to those who have seen them a hundred times already)

I like the Hawkfishes. Unlike some other families, there’s not an ugly one in the bunch. (Click on a picture to see a bigger version.)

This is the Arc-Eye Hawkfish (Paracirrhites arcatus). The common name comes from the arc-shaped marking over the eyes.

Arc Eye Hawkfish

Here’s a Freckled Hawkfish (Paracirrhites fosteri). They start out as youngsters with just a few freckles and get more and more as they age (hmmm . . . that seems to be the way my old body is turning out)

Freckled Hawkfish

Ah yes, the rare (except on the Henry Leith) Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus). Anybody want to venture a guess where it got it’s name. I’d be tempted to call it the Jimmy Durante Hawkfish, but nobody under 60 would get the connection. Richard Jones took this picture with my camera.

Longnosed Hawkfish

Here’s the Pixy Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus). The name just makes me giggle.  Imagine a pixy hawk – let alone a pixy hawk fish. What a mish-mash of words.

Pixy Hawkfish

And, as so often happens when you think you know what you are looking at, along comes a fish you thought you knew, but it’s a completely different color. This is the Red Variation of the Pixy Hawkfish.

Pixy Hawkfish (red variation)

Okay, that’s enough for today. I hear thunder in the distance, so the dive may be off . . . nevermind.

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