Friday, August 8, 2014

Best of Mike #265

We had a very nice room, over the water, room .... for our trip to Roatan Honduras. 

I was standing on the porch .... having a conversation with this guy.

When Lydia called to me .... to tell me she was feeling even worse than she had been all day.

Bad enough to go to the hospital .... because she thought she might be having a heart attack.

It was an adventure that we could have lived without.

It was an adventure that included a night in the hospital .... and a ride via air ambulance to Miami.

It was an adventure that had a happy ending .... it wasn't a problem with her heart.

But it was the adventure that cut this dive trip short .... and pushed any future trips into 2015.

I tell you all of this .... because this is the last pixture that I have to share until we make another trip.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Best of Mike #264

This wee man actually lives in that hole, in the sand .... that you barely see just below his tail.

And he is wee .... a very big one of his species might grow to be almost 4 inches long.

Most of it's life is spent in a relatively small territory .... and often they are seen with only the head and upper section of his body protruding from their den.

Occasionally they hover above their hole .... as you see here.

The Jawfish is very handy with it's mouth.

Using it to carry sand, shells and rocks from one location to another .... as it makes it's home.

It is also a "mouthbrooder" .... the male carries the eggs in it's mouth until they hatch.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Best of Mike #263

I really like to scuba dive .... and, you would think that after 700+ dives I would be completely comfortable below the surface.

But that is not the case.

When you are born to breath air and walk on solid ground .... there is always going to be at least a little trepidation as you descend under the sea.

And, when the rocks have eyes .... it only adds to those feelings.

You can see in the top left corner of this pixture the bottom end of the mooring line. So this is right under the boat .... the very beginning of the dive.

You have floated calmly down from the surface to settle on the bottom. You look to right, as you orient yourself .... and the rock beside you opens it's eyes.

Really its the Flowered Flounder on the top of the rock that opened it's eyes .... but believe me that's not what your brain tells you at the moment that it happens.

When a Flounder is born is has an eye on each side of it's brain .... just like most fish.

But because they hunt by lying camouflaged on the bottom .... it is much more convenient to have both of their eyes on the side that faces up.

So, over the course of the metamorphosis from larval to juvenile .... one eye migrates.
Which side the eye moves to dependent of what species type the Flounder is.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Best of Mike #262

The central character in this scene is .... a Brown Banded Feather Duster.

When I see a scene like this .... I think garden.

Then and now, I hear a little bit of the Beatles tune .... Octopuses Garden in my head as I look at it.

Feather Dusters are worms .... still a surprise to me that things yucky on land are so beautiful underwater.

They prefer areas of the reef where there is water movement.

The swaying is often what catches my attention .... and probably the attention of whatever they call food too.

They are most often found in clusters .... like you see here.

But are a shy bunch .... instantly retracting into their tubes if you get too close.

If you are willing to wait moitionless .... the crowns may slowly extend and reopen.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Best of Mike #261

I am a big fan of the long lens .... and filling the frame with a single subject.

So, anytime I have a pixture of more than one creature .... it is a happy accident.

In this case .... I focused on the Basket Star draped out of the Vase Sponge.

I am a little fascinated by this scene each time I see it. 

In my head this is always a vision of a Zombie creature crawling from the crypt.

While I was working on that shot.

An Arrowcrab walked into the frame .... from the depths of the sponge.

Happy accident!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Best of Mike #260

A Flamingo Tongue is a type of snail.

When it is alive, this snail, has bright orange-yellow and  black markings.

However, these colors are not acturally on the shell .... they are on the live mantle tissue that covers the shell.

The mantle can be retracted, exposing the shell .... but this usually happens only when the animal is attacked.

The flamingo tongue feeds by browsing on the living tissues of the soft corals on which it lives.

Adult females attach eggs to coral upon which they have recently fed.

After roughly a week and a half, the larvae hatch.

Early in life they float as plankton .... but will eventually settle onto corals.

Juveniles tend to remain on the underside of coral branches .... while adults are far more visible and mobile.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Best of Mike #259

This pixture will give you a pretty good idea of why camouflage is so popular amongst marine species.

It really works.

This is a Shortfin Pipefish.

If you are thinking they look like a straight-bodied seahorse .... you would be right 

They share many characteristics with their seahorse relatives .... including leaving most of the conception and  parenting duties to the male.

Their name is derived from the peculiar form of the snout .... which is like a long tube, ending in a narrow and small mouth.

That mouth opens upward and are toothless.

Pipefish are secretive and adept at camouflage .... so they are rarely observed by divers.