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?

 

Charmed, I’m Sure


When people find out I am a scuba diver, the first question most of them ask is, “Aren’t you afraid?”  I can honestly answer that, No, I am not afraid.  In fact, any fear that I should have is immediately pushed aside in favor of fascination when I am under the water.  I believe that this is the innate nature of the sport, and that most divers will claim that fascination overcomes fear.  Some of the creatures that might inspire fear are great photo subjects.  Others appear harmless, but may pack a punch if their environment is disturbed too much.

Snake Pit small

This sea snake, and several others like it, kept several of the divers on the boat.  That was unfortunate for them, because I had a fabulous interaction with the snakes.  They followed me around the dive site, curiously posing for the camera and watching their reflections in my dome port.  I didn’t know it at the time, but two of the snakes entangled themselves in my legs as I was leaving the site, and my husband captured it on his GoPro.  I enjoyed this dive more than any other because of the snakes, and never even considered fear among my reactions to them.

Eels breath by forcing water through their gills through their mouths.  That's why their mouths are often open.

Eels breath by forcing water through their gills through their mouths. That’s why their mouths are often open.

Another creature that inspires fear is the eel.  They do have a lot of teeth, and their mouths are often open which may make them look formidable.  Most of the time, though, they are simply breathing or being cleaned by the shrimp that inhabit their dens with them.

Mooray eel

This barracuda might have been a little upset at my presence in the water.  At the time, I thought he was just very interested in having his picture taken as he kept circling me, coming closer each time.  This is one creature I should have had more respect for, as he is capable of harm if he feels threatened.  However, fear never crossed my mind, and it was only with hindsight that I realized his aggressive behavior was a warning.

barracuda

This small fireworm looks harmless enough.  It is important that you never assume anything, though and never touch a creature even if it appears harmless.  The fibers on the sides of the worm have a stinging venom that can be quite uncomfortable.

fireworm

Here’s another venomous fish, that is absolutely beautiful, but has stinging fins.  This one was guarding it’s many children which can be seen along the right side of the photograph.

DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes fish just look formidable.  Or just plain ugly, like this toad fish.

Toadfish

This Cabezon aggressively attacked my camera.  He was less than a foot long, and didn’t have teeth, but he had an impressive nest to guard, and perceived me as a threat.  I still didn’t fear him, but I did respect his space, and backed off when I realized I had stressed him.

cabezon with eggs

So to my non-diving friends; the creatures in the ocean don’t need to be feared, but they do need to be respected.  The likelihood of being a victim of an attack is very small when you respect the reef and it’s inhabitants.  A little education about sea life goes a long way too!  Most of the time, I am simply charmed.