In the early months of this blog, I wrote about my obsession with nudibranchs. I had discovered that I favored browsing the internet for photographs of nudibranchs, which led to the realization that I was a nudiphile. Since that time, I have gone into underwater therapy a number of times to see if perhaps I could be persuaded by other critters. But no, the tendency only worsened. The sluggish things are so colorful and charming. They seem to smile at the camera and I just can’t help but stop to photograph them.
This little lovely (above) is known as a Pokeman or Pikachu nudibranch. It belongs to the Dorid family. They are about an inch long and are one of the more interesting slugs in the sea.
This colorful Hypselodoris was the only one of it’s kind to grace me with it’s presence. For some reason, it reminds me of a clown, although less humorous and more refined. Perhaps it is a French clown.
Here a Chromodoris appears to be wearing a jeweled crown.
One of the amazing things about nudibranchs is their ability to blend in with their environment, or their ability to stand out in their environment. This Batangas Halgerda does a little of both. It’s body stands out, while it’s rhinophores and gill branches resemble plants in it’s environment.
These two breeding hypselodoris are wonderful to photograph because of their creamy pinkish coloring that looks like glass.
Unfortunately for this Yellow-Tipped Phyllodesmium, it is a tasty meal for fish. Most nudibranchs seem to be left alone perhaps because their remarkable coloring announces they might sting or be poisonous.
Here’s an interesting specimen. Hey, you got a bug on your face!
Here’s another example of a “blender.” It looks so much like the soft corals in it’s environment, that you have to search for the rhinophores to determine if it is a coral or nudibranch. Of course, the corals don’t crawl.
This guy has a mantle that flaps up and down as it crawls across the sea bed. So intriguing to watch, it is no wonder my fetish for sea slugs is only growing. Admit it. You are a closet nudiphile too.
Today is Father’s Day, and I’ve been looking through my photographs and thinking of my Dad. John Parkinson is a very talented Landscape Photographer. His love for photography was and is a source of inspiration for me. When I was growing up, we had slide-shows in the family room of his photographs. I always loved those times. My dad has had a productive life in photography. This post is dedicated to him and some of my favorite photographs of his. More of his work and his book (yes, he has a book of his photography!) can be found at artinnature.com.
Click on any of the images to see more!
A Hydro-Sapien is an advanced species that thrives in water and on land. I think I have evolved into one of these during the last few years. I definitely thrive in water. The most exciting thing about this is discovering all the things that have evolved under water that the land dwelling Homo-Sapiens are unaware of. Some of these critters are so indistinct, that my photographs of them are meaningless to the common land-dweller. I will attempt to educate the waterless by taking you on an underwater photo-safari of some of the more obscure creatures.
The shrimp family is truly vast. And weird. They are colorful and full of character. The Crinoid shrimp (above) is hosted on another animal called a Crinoid. Crinoids come in many colors, and the shrimp that inhabit their tentacles match their color. They are very small, growing up to 1.5 cm.
The Skeleton shrimp is one of my favorite. It is actually an amphipod, whose slender body makes it look like a filament of seaweed. The female will carry her babies all over her body which makes them look like a creepy mass of claws and legs. (below)
The skeleton shrimp below appears to be riding on a nudibranch. She reminds me of a queen riding on a float, waving at her underlings. They are very entertaining to watch. They move somewhat like an inchworm and spark the imagination with their unique character.
Next is the Ornate Ghost Pipefish. These small fish come in a lot of different colors. The one below is a male, black, Ornate Ghost Pipefish. They often hide among plants that look just like them.
Just to satisfy your curiosity, a few other ghost pipefish are the Robust and Halemida (below)
The Paddle-Flap Scorpionfish (below) is a rare and odd shaped fish. It has a false “eye” (the white spot below it’s real eye), to trick it’s prey into thinking it isn’t watching when it really is.
Here’s a tiny little, uh, thing: They do have a scientific name; Idiomysis. They are called sea owls by the locals. They hover above anemones and are about the size of an ant.
The Homosapien in me is pretty creeped out by spiders. But, it turns out, spiders inhabit the sea too. This one was one of many that inhabited some seaweed. After the “photo shoot” I had the heebie jeebies for hours.
The electric file clam (below) is hard to describe. It would look better in video. The iridescent blue that lines it’s mantle actually looks like light or electricity moving across it.
These are only a few examples of the unique aquatic beasties under the sea. With thousands more to see, it’s no wonder I’ve developed gills. Don’t you wish you were a Hydrosapien too?
The eggs featured in this post come from a variety of sea beasties. The interesting critter below, is a Hairy Shrimp. The first time I encountered one, a guide was pointing it out to me. I looked at the end of his pointy stick only to see a tiny bit of moss (no bigger than half my pinky fingernail) floating around some leaves. I looked closer at the leaves, and rocks, thinking he meant something hiding underneath. The guide tapped my shoulder and again pointed at the bit of moss. So I shrugged and took a photograph of the moss, just to make him happy. Later, when I looked at the image on my computer, I noticed there was an eye in that bit of moss. I asked another photographer what it was and was shocked to find out it was a Hairy Shrimp. Needless to say, I began hunting for the furry bug, and soon found this one, which has a clutch of eggs filling her back half.
In keeping with the “shrimp” theme, I found several other types of shrimp with eggs. These two are glass shrimp. One has a tight round whitish ball of eggs, while the other has a more developed pinkish clutch.
The largest shrimp I have ever encountered is this Peacock Mantis Shrimp. She was about 7 inches long and carries her eggs in between her front legs. She was not happy about being photographed, and tried to flee and hide under rocks and coral.
This one simply stayed put in her burrow, and showed me her babies from her front door.
Here a Coral Crab shows off a carapace full of eggs.
This Simnia from Southern California is busy laying her egg sacs on this Red Gorgonian.
Nudibranch eggs are commonly seen on reefs where Nudis are found. They are often laid in a spiral pattern. These Nudibranchs were “holding hands” near a spiral of nudibranch eggs.
The world under water is full of fascinating behavior. I am particularly interested in how diversely aquatic creatures reproduce. So how would I like MY eggs? With salt water of course!