It’s easy for divers to get stoked on seeing the big-ticket critters. Manta rays? Majestic. Sharks? Spellbinding.
So far, we’re all on the same page here.
There’s this cognitive leap, though, that occurs for divers when they learn to find and appreciate the nudibranch. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario, but this leap happens around the same time as divers learn to slow down and control their air consumption. Tiny things become cool, dives get longer, and there’s of course the self-satisfaction that comes out of being able to find and recognize the more obscure creatures.
But it takes a special breed to go for the borderline microscopic stuff. It’s possible they’ve taken the obscure critter-finding obsession too far: if you can barely see the thing without a magnifying glass, and your dive buddies can’t see it at all, are you really in your right mind?
Probably not, but that doesn’t seem to stop me, now does it?Read More...
When asked of his ties to the seahorse,
the ghost pipefish replied in due course:
“Though I lack a pouch,
“our girls are no slouch,
“and they tend to their eggs without remorse.”Read More...
Although named for its resemblance to both praying mantis and shrimp, the mantis shrimp is neither; it’s a stomatopod, in fact only a distant relative of crabs, shrimps, and lobsters. Stomatopods can be loosely divided into two groups based on how they kill prey with their raptorial appendages (I just want to say that over and over again, it sounds so badass). But just wait: the badassery gets better.Read More...
Reminiscent of the ribbon event in rhythmic gymnastics, ribbon eels are a dramatic sight. Here are some interesting facts about ribbon eels and some photos of these beautiful, fascinating creatures.Read More...
What stalks across the seafloor and ripples around the reef?
What looks like a plant, but then GRABS you when you swim past?
What has no brain, an anus next to its mouth, and a bunch of sticky arms that reach out and attach to you?
What’s beautiful and terrifying all at once? The crinoid.
What’s underwater and creepier than a crinoid? NOTHING.Read More...
The scene is a hotel room in Anilao, Philippines. Our heroine is standing over a console table, assembling an underwater camera, when her husband enters the room with news from their dive guide.
HUSBAND: The boat is going looking for pygmy seahorses today. How big are they, anyway?
Our heroine looks up, instinctively making a gesture with her thumb and forefinger suggesting about an inch, but seems less certain as she begins to waffle bigger and smaller. The husband smirks at her indecision.
Cut to underwater. The dive guide signals for our heroine’s attention and begins to methodically pick through a purple gorgonian fan, despite the fact that it appears completely barren of life.
He points at a spot on the fan. She squints.
He points again, and a piece of the fan no larger than her pinky fingernail moves slightly. She squints. Recognition washes over her face as it registers that pygmy seahorses are much, much smaller than she had originally thought.
Photographing pygmy seahorses is going to take some work.Read More...
It is no secret that I love the nudibranch. But it may come as a surprise that not everyone shares my branchophile tendencies. Fortunately, I have devised a twelve-step program to convert even the most reluctant slug-lover lover into a nudi connoisseur.Read More...
How to find a frogfish? Look for sponges. Look at all the sponges. If a sponge looks like it has a mouth, it might be a frogfish. If it doesn’t look like it has a mouth, it might still be a frogfish. Maybe poke it. If it moves, your chances that it is a frogfish just went up.Read More...