The “Eyes” have it!


I have often heard that the eyes are the window to the soul.  We view the world around us through our eyes, and we express our innermost feelings through our eyes.  Couples fall in love by gazing into each other’s eyes.  Truly, the eyes are one of the most important aspects of our persona, because so much more than vision is conveyed through the eyes.

In the under water world, eyes are very important.  Some fish have large markings that look like eyes to make them look like a predator.  Some have camouflaged eyes so that their prey don’t know they are looking.  Some eyes are very tiny, and some are hugely out of proportion to their bodies.

There are many songs that have been written about eyes. Poet-Songwriters have described all kinds of situations, feelings, and circumstances by singing about eyes.   I thought it might be fun to view the underwater world through some of these song titles:

First up:  “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Gayle

Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

Fun Fact:  Hermit crabs have very expressive eyes and they come in all colors, including polka-dot!
Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles

The Stargazer buries itself in the sand, with only it's eyes exposed.

The Stargazer buries itself in the sand, with only it’s eyes exposed.

These bottom dwelling fish have lyin’ eyes.  They are hard to see, and don’t really convey the danger “lyin” in wait under the sand.
This flounder's eyes look like the sand around which it has buried itself while waiting for it's prey.

This flounder’s eyes look like the sand around which it has buried itself while”lying” in wait for it’s prey.

Can’t Take My Eyes off of You”  by Franke Valle

Conch Eye

Conch Eye

I Only Have Eyes for You” by The Flamingos

Anemone Fish Eggs with eyes developed

Anemone Fish Eggs with eyes developed

 Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

Scorpion Fish affectionately called a "Lion fish"

Scorpion Fish affectionately called a “Lion fish”

Behind Blue Eyes”  by The Who

Frogfish with lure.

Frogfish with lure

Eyes without a Face” by Billy Idol

This fish is a deceiver.  It looks like it has one huge eye, so that larger fish think it is bigger and more menacing than it is.

This fish is a deceiver. It looks like it has one huge eye, so that larger fish think it is bigger and more menacing than it is.

And last but not least:

Cotton-Eyed Joeby Rednex

Cotton-eyed Mantis Shrimp

“Cotton-eyed”  Mantis Shrimp

Click Here for Interesting Facts and Video

The Mantis Shrimp have the most interesting eyes.  They move independently and are sometimes cross-eyed.  This one is a Peacock Mantis

The Mantis Shrimp have the most interesting eyes. They move independently and are sometimes cross-eyed. This one is a Peacock Mantis

 

 

A Day in the Life of a Hydro-Sapien


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.

Slender Crinoid Shrimp (Araiopontonia odontorhyncha)
Slender Crinoid Shrimp
(Araiopontonia odontorhyncha)

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.

Skeleton Shrimp (Caprellidae)

Skeleton Shrimp (Caprellidae)

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)

Yup.  That's mommy in the middle, holding about two dozen babies.

Yup. That’s mommy in the middle, holding about two dozen babies.

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.

Skeleton Shrimp and Nudibranch

Skeleton Shrimp and Nudibranch

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.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish  (Solenostomidae)

Ornate Ghost Pipefish (Solenostomidae)

Just to satisfy your curiosity, a few other ghost pipefish are the Robust and Halemida (below)

Halemida Ghost Pipefish

Halemida Ghost Pipefish

Robust Ghost Pipefish

Robust Ghost Pipefish

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.

Paddle-flap Scorpion fish (Rhinopias eschmeyeri)

Paddle-flap Scorpion fish (Rhinopias eschmeyeri)

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.

sea owl

sea owl

sea owls

sea owls

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.

Sea Spider

Sea Spider

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.

Electric Fileclam

Electric Fileclam

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?

 

How Would You Like Your Eggs? (Part 2)


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.

hairy shrimp

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.

Glass shrimp with eggs

Glass shrimp with eggs

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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.

Peacock Mantis with Eggs

This one simply stayed put in her burrow, and showed me her babies from her front door.

Peacock Mantis with Eggs

Peacock Mantis with Eggs

Here a Coral Crab shows off a carapace full of eggs.

Coral Crab with eggs

Coral Crab with eggs

This Simnia from Southern California is busy laying her egg sacs on this Red Gorgonian.

Simnia with eggs

Simnia with eggs

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.

Mating Nudibranchs with eggs

Mating Nudibranchs with 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!

 

 

 

Darling it’s Better, Down Where it’s Wetter, Under the Sea!


I’ve been thinking about Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian Crab.  I think he hit the nail on the head with his philosophy about the joys of being under the sea!  He said,

“The seaweed is always greener, in somebody else’s lake.  You dream about goin’ up there, but that is a big mistake.  Just look at the world around you, Right here on the ocean floor.  Such wonderful things surround you, What more is you lookin’ for?
Under the sea
Under the sea
Darling it’s better Down where it’s wetter Take it from me!”

Well, He is right.  The ocean floor is where all the crustaceans creep about.  It is always a thrill to come upon one of these fascinating creatures.

Arrow Crab

Arrow Crab

The arrow crab has a long pointed head, and shovels food into it’s mouth with it’s two front appendages.

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The diversity of the crabs is one of the most interesting things.  Below are a few decorator crabs.  These crabs take pieces of sponge and moss and attach them to their bodies for camouflage.  See if you can spot their eyes.  They are a little easier to put in perspective that way.

Teardrop Crab

Teardrop Crab

Decorator Crab

Decorator Crab

This guy (above) is completely covered with bits of plant matter, except for his eyes and two front claws.  If he hadn’t moved, I would have never seen him.  The crab below also has some great camouflage going.

_DSC7352

Teardrop Crab

Teardrop Crab

Hermit crabs are some of my favorite subjects to photograph.  I love how their eyes protrude from under the shell and watch the camera.

Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

20130310-crab close cropped

20130713-20130713-_DSC8858

And finally, the shrimps!

Banded Shrimp

Banded Shrimp

This banded shrimp has a claw on every foot.  Although the two front ones are the largest, he uses all of them to put food in his mouth.

20130323-single shrimp

The red ones above are often found in the den of an eel as they clean the eel’s body of parasites.

Shrimp

Shrimp

Coon striped shrimp

Coon striped shrimp

Down here all the fish is happy, as off through the waves they roll.  The fish on the land ain’t happy, They sad ’cause they in their bowl.  But fish in the bowl is lucky,  They in for a worser fate,  One day when the boss get hungry, Guess who’s gon’ be on the plate!

Under the sea

Under the sea

We got no troubles

Live is the bubbles

Under the Sea!