It’s the little things….


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”  Maybe the Sherlock Holmes in me agrees and that is why I am fascinated by the little things.  In this post are some of the tiniest things I have found in the ocean.  All of them are smaller than one or two centimeters, and some of them I can’t explain.

Juvenile Frogfish

Juvenile Frogfish

This is a juvenile frogfish.  It was no bigger than my thumbnail.  They “hop” around on their front “legs” like a frog.  As they get older, they take on the coloring of their environment and become almost invisible to predators and their prey.

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Here a ghost shrimp poses on a Red Gorgonian.  Only 5 mm or so, I could not see it without a magnifying lens._DSC3132

The tube worms (above and below) are about two centimeters when their plumes are fully open.

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The Pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) is a highly prized subject to photograph because of it’s super camouflage and general cuteness.  This one was about a centimeter in length.

This Hippocampus bargibanti (Pygmy Seahorse) is one of the tiniest creatures in the sea, although this particular seahorse is one of the largest of the Pygmies.  It can get up to 3/4 inch.  They have amazing camouflage and are almost impossible to find on the sea fans they inhabit.

This Hippocampus bargibanti (Pygmy Seahorse) is one of the tiniest creatures in the sea, although this particular seahorse is one of the largest of the Pygmies. It can get up to 3/4 inch. They have amazing camouflage and are almost impossible to find on the sea fans they inhabit.

One of my favorite subjects to photograph is the nudibranch.  This one is known as a California Chromodorid (or Hypselodoris californiensis).  Although they can get up to 90 mm, this one was no longer than 10 mm.

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A colorful Simnia (Delonovolva aequalis) lays eggs along the stem of a red gorgonian (below).  It’s shell is around two cm long.  If not for the eggs, it would have been very difficult to see, as it blends nicely with it’s environment.

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Sometimes, things show up in photographs by accident.  In the two photos below, I had another subject in mind, but when I blew up the image on the computer screen, I discovered tiny creatures.  The first one is obviously a shrimp, about 2mm in length.  The second is anyone’s guess.  Just critters that resemble bugs.  They are marked with arrows, and are less than 2mm.

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 In this case, the Sherlock in me gives way to Doris Lessing who said, “Small things amuse small minds.”  She may be right.

 

 

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.

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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

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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.

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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!