The Vain Varicosa

Posted in Under the Sea on July 20th, 2010 by MadDog
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Dont’ try to figure out the title of the post yet. It’s so stupid that you will simply waste your time. I’ll get to it.

Busy, busy, busy. When I went out this morning I was wondering how I was going to cram in all the things that I “had to do” before clocking out. One of them was to take this picture of a sunrise, a very peculiar one:

Frustrated with the violet hue (which, by the way, I saw with my own eyes, but can’t explain), I spent far too much time trying to get rid of it and then decided to leave it, because that’s the way it was. It is not a very good idea to fool with Mother Nature, even when she seems to be fooling with you.

But, getting back to “things I have to get done today”, I really need an attitude adjustment. There are categories:

  • That which must be done to maintain life (eat, get a little exercise, don’t offend any mobsters, etc.)
  • That which one must do to keep one’s job or jobs (should be obvious to you unless you are about to be sacked)
  • That which you would like to do just to show that you’re pulling your load (help with the housework, wash the car, mow the lawn, etc.)
  • That which you need to do in order to maintain some level of personal satisfaction (this too, you probably already have figured out)

The problem is putting them all into some kind of balance. I still haven’t gotten a handle on that. I probably never will.

So, since this is something which I do to maintain some level of personal satisfaction, I’m going to blow off some of the more essential tasks and show you the source of the ridiculous title of this post. It is a nudibranch, specifically a Phyllidia varicosa,  of which you have seen many specimens before:

The title is a stupid pun combining the species name, varicosa,  and vain, which we all understand (“You’re so vain – da da da da da da da.”) with varicose veins and don’t ask me why that popped into my mind. So having established what kind of a day it’s going to be, let’s get on with the rest of it.

By the way, I am calling that P. varicosa  image a perfect specimen shot. If anybody wants to argue that, then put up your dukes and show that you did better. I’m laying the matter to rest until I get (or I am challenged with) a better one. That’s another brag down for the day. How many do I have left? I’ve lost count already.

Here’s a nice, symmetrical shot of  a Fan Coral and a Feather star:

No, I’m not going to say a lot about it. It’ speaks for itself. Let it talk for a few seconds. Pop it up and have a look. Hear anything?

Me neither.

A little gaggle of Shadowfin Soldierfish (Myripristis adusta)  were swimming through the notch leading to the catamaran. Having plenty of air and not much else to do, I took a picture of them:

Think of that shot as part of my continuing efforts to demonstrate that not everything under the sea is as exciting and beautiful as you see it on TV.

This is a bit better. These little devils are usually almost impossible to shoot well. The Blackspotted Puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus)  is a shy, shy fish:

This is probably the best shot which I have ever gotten of the fat little puppy-like swimmers.

Then, a few metres away, I found another one ducking in and out of a hole:

Another good puffer shot. When you’re hot, you’re hot!

Looking back up at that list, I think that I have to get to work now.

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Common or Odd – Find It At the Eel Garden

Posted in Under the Sea on February 28th, 2009 by MadDog
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I just got around to processing some snaps taken at the Eel Garden near Pig Island a couple of weeks ago. I’ll show you the ones that I like best.

This little guy is one a large group of walking decapods that we commonly call Hermit Crabs. They all have soft abdomens that they must protect from predators. Therefore, each one has to find a house all to itself – thus, the hermit crab who lives all alone in his house. This one is a Calcinus miutus:Hermit Crab (Calcinus minutus)

I enjoy snapping hermit crabs because they are so easy. The don’t move very fast. If you scare it, you just have to wait a minute and it will come back out to see what’s up.

Lizardfish are another of my favourites. The stay put pretty well if you move slowly. If you hold your breath and move very slowly, you can stick the camera right in its face. Here is a Reef Lizardfish (Synodus rubromarmoratus):

Reef Lizardfish (Synodus rubromarmoratus)

It doesn’t look very impressive just laying there on the coral rubble. But, if you move around and shove your camera in his face, it’s another story entirely. It turns into a monster:

Reef Lizardfish (Synodus rubromarmoratus)

Fierce, eh? It’s only about as long as your hand.

Here is a Red and Black Anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus) to brighten up the page:

Red and Black Anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus)

I keep finding Anemonefish that I’ve not noticed before. At first they tend to look pretty much alike. New divers tend to call them all “Clownfish”. That’s okay, but when you start to look closely, you see that there are many different varieties of the orange-ish Anemonefish. They have their colours distributed differently, their white bars and black patches in different places, and their fins are different colours.
This sturdy-looking fellow is a Shadowfin Soldierfish ( Myripristis adusta):

Shadowfin Soldierfish (Myripristis adusta)We 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 a look at this.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a puzzle. Here is a close up of a marine critter. It is about 40 cm long. It does not swim, but moves slowly on the bottom. The funny-looking swirly bit in the middle of the image is, I believe, where some predator has bitten a chunk out of it and the wound has left a scar:

Close up of a mystery critter - can you say what it is?Can you say what this creature is?

Leave a comment. I promise to answer each one.

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