Odd Fish Pics

Posted in Under the Sea on November 22nd, 2009 by MadDog
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Again, I’m covered up by work and have little time to write. However, there is always time for images. Today I’ll show you some of my more unusual friends.

This wiggly little thing about the size of a baby’s finger is the Urchin Clingfish (Diademichthys lineatus):

Urchin Clingfish (Diademichthys lineatus)

They are quite tiny and constantly moving, so it’s not easy to get a shot. They are also pretty rare. This is the only one that I’ve ever seen.

Okay, this is not a fish. I bet some out there will guess that these are squid eggs:

Squid Eggs

I have no idea why they are attached to a submerged tree branch which was only about two metres below the surface. It looks like a good lunch for a predator. They are more often seen attached to the underside of rocks.

This is a ferocious Titan Triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens)  which appears to be quite dead. Why is the Monty Python  “Dead Parrot” skit playing now in my brain?Titan Triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens)

You don’t need to weep. This is simply a common habit of the species. They often wiggle-waggle sideways on the bottom in this manner. I suspect that it helps to dislodge parasites.

This cute little guy is a Black-Saddled Toby (Canthigaster valentini):

Black Saddled Toby (Canthigaster valentini)

I see these on almost every dive, but it’s rare to get such a decent image of one. They are very wary and skillful at staying just out of camera range. I surprised this one.

This oddball is a Bignose Unicornfish (Naso vlamingii):

Bignose Unicornfish (Naso vlamingii)

There is another species that has a horn-like protrusion on the nose that looks more unicornish. This one just has a big schnoz. This fish goes through a remarkable colour change when it is at a cleaning station where the little cleaner fish pick off the parasites – like a car wash for fish. Normally the fish appears jet black. However, while it is at a cleaning station, it changes colours until it is nearly a pale baby blue. I imaging that this is to ‘tell’ the cleaner fish that it’s safe to start work and they are not going to be eaten.

That’s all of the strangeness that I can manage for today.

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The Terrible Titan

Posted in Under the Sea on January 16th, 2009 by MadDog
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I have a few more shots to show from last Saturday’s dive.

On the way up to Barracuda Point  through Tab Anchorage,  the coast was looking mighty fine. You can see several ranges of mountains receding in the distance:

Looking West from Tab Anchorage

This shot of two bannerfish looks as it they’re doing the synchronized swimming thing. Have you ever watched synchronized swimming? I find it simultaneously stunningly boring and strangely mesmerising:

Synchronized Swimming

The feature of this post is this nasty character: 

The Titan Triggerfish - Balistoides viridescensIt’s a Titan Triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens).  I was able to get quite close to this football-sized specimen – an unusual opportunity, if you don’t wan’t to get bitten. Here he is swimming peacefully between two Six-Banded Angelfish:

Titan Triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) swimming between two Six-Banded AngelfishWe’ve had so many scary, sometimes funny experiences with these brutes over the years. A woman I know has a large scar on her thigh from having a chunk removed by a Titan.

My first experience with one was potentially disastrous. I was on my second or third dive (uncertified, untrained, UNRECOMMENDED). A large Titan started chasing me. I panicked and went from about 25 metres to the surface in a few seconds. Fortunately, I was breathing all the time (more like panting!) so I didn’t blow a lung.

Here’s a shot from another day. You can see why we dread having a Titan nipping at us:

Titan Triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) show us his formidible teethWhen someone asks me what it’s like to be attacked by a large triggerfish, I ask how they would react if a large house cat came at them with teeth gnashing and slashing.

It’s no fun.

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