Hair, Hair, Everywhere!


One of the freaky things about the under water world is discovering creatures that are “hairy.”  It never occurred to me that a fish could have hair, or a lobster or crab for that matter.  The interesting thing about hairy critters is that they blend in so well with their environment which is often made up of hair-like substances.  One of my favorites is the hairy frogfish.

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The Striated Frogfish (Hairy Variation) has all these filiments growing from it.  They live in or near filamentous algae and at about one or two inches long, are very hard to see.  They have a fuzzy lure atop the head which they use to attract fish.  The frogfish has a very quick strike and can eat another fish it’s own size.

Hairy Frogfish

Hairy Frogfish

Another hairy fish is the Yellow coral goby, or bearded goby.  It lives inside hard coral where it hides from predators.  This fish definitely has a cute factor with it’s chin stubble and big blue eyes.  What a heart breaker.

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The Shortpouch Pygmy Pipehorse is an interesting critter that is covered with various sized skin flaps.  It can be found living in sea grass and is only a few centimeters long.

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This fun critter is a Hairy Squat Lobster.  It lives on giant Barrel Sponges and blends into it’s pinkish environment.  It’s carapace is covered with numerous long white bristles.

Hairy Squat Lobster

Hairy Squat Lobster

The Algae shrimp (nicknamed hairy shrimp) are some of the most obscure tiny critters to be found.  They are only about 1/4 inch at best.  If you look closely, you can see that both specimen have a belly full of eggs.

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hairy shrimp

One day I hope to have an image of a hairy octopus (Yes!  Octopus!)  And the Lacey Scorpionfish has a coif that rivals the most cryptic of marine animals.  The amazing world of hairy creatures continues to inspire me, and lures me back to the water again and again in search of it’s crazy inhabitants.

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me

 

Whale Watching


I recently took a trip out on the California coast exclusively to go whale watching.  I don’t take this opportunity very often, at least not for the express purpose of whale watching, because I spend so much time on the water for scuba diving.  Often times, whales will appear while we are crossing the channel to dive at Catalina, and sometimes they will appear just off the coast when we are diving at the beach.  But this day, was dedicated to finding and photographing the whales that migrate past our coast annually.

We first came upon a small pod of fin whales.  This is not a common whale in California, but there are a few.  They are characterized by a tall dorsal fin.  Fin whales can get up to 90 feet long and are the second largest mammal, next to the blue whale.  They are enormous and yet their slender torpedo-like bodies glide gracefully through the water.

A Fin Whale comes up for air.

A Fin Whale comes up for air.

Since Fin Whales can hold their breath for a long time, we soon moved on, looking for other interesting sea creatures.  We soon came upon a pod of three Gray Whales, aka Knuckle-back Whales.  They are characterized by a bumpy back that looks like knuckles.  Gray whales are much smaller than Fin whales, getting to about 50 feet long.  They have gray and white mottling on their skin from scars or parasites that have dropped off.  They lack a dorsal fin and have flukes that measure around 9-10 feet across.

Flukes of a gray whale

Flukes of a gray whale

Here you can see the ridges on the whales back as it prepares to dive.

Here you can see the ridges on the whales back as it prepares to dive.

Last highlight of the day was a large playful pod of dolphins.  These I get to see regularly as they love to swim along the bow of a boat.  This particular boat had a viewing pod.  Although the photograph is a little unclear, it was fun to see these dolphins racing along under the boat.

Dolphins swimming along the bow of a boat

Dolphins swimming along the bow of a boat

In this image, a dolphin comes up for air while it’s companion is just under the surface.

A dolphin surfaces momentarily.

A dolphin surfaces momentarily.

A big thank you to Captain Dave’s Whale Watching Safari  for a fun day out on top of the water.  If you are ever in Dana Point, California, I would highly recommend their operation.  You can click on their name for a link to their website.

 

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me.