My top 10 Things That go “Bump” in the Night


When I was a child I remember having a nightmare about ghosts coming out in the night. My father told me there wasn’t anything in my room at night that wasn’t there during the day. Well, I might have to argue that point when it comes to the ocean at night. Diving at night is one of the greatest pleasures I enjoy, and yet, that is when all the creepy, crawly critters come out that definitely aren’t there during the day. Perhaps it is my fascination with seeing things that few others have the opportunity to see that attracts me to diving at night. Perhaps it is just the creatures ability to camouflage during the day (and sometimes at night) that make them so interesting to see. Whatever it is, I can’t seem to get enough of the ocean at night.  So here is my countdown of my top 10:

 

No. 10.  The Mimic Octopus.  It pulsates with color and changes shape as it is threatened or excited.

Mimic Octopus

Mimic Octopus

No. 9.  Squid, and Pygmy Squid.  (They differ in that the squid are about two or three inches long, and the Pygmy squid is about the size of my pinky fingernail.)

Squid

Squid

Pygmy  squid with fish

Squid with fish

Pygmy Squid

Pygmy Squid

No. 8.   Mandarin Fish which mate every evening at dusk.

Mandarin Fish with Eggs

Mandarin Fish with Eggs

No. 7.  The Porcelain Crab.  It feeds by sifting the water with it’s feather duster arms.

Porcelain shrimp

Porcelain shrimp

No. 6.  The Creepy Crawly Sea Spider.  (Yeah, they kind of give me the heebie jeebies)

Sea Spider

Sea Spider

No 5.  The Box fish, or Cowfish.  (Sometimes seen during the daytime, they are most active at night.)

Boxfish

Boxfish

No. 4. The Pygmy Cuttlefish.  These guys are only about an inch long, and love to bury themselves in the sand.

Pygmy Cuttlefish

Pygmy Cuttlefish

Pygmy cuttlefish

Pygmy cuttlefish

No. 3.   Well, speaking of cuttlefish, the big guys are cool too.  This one was more like a foot long.

Cuttle fish

Cuttle fish

No. 2.  The Skeleton Shrimp.  These are the quirkiest critters I’ve ever seen.  They are full of personality and character and are only about half an inch long.

Skeleton shrimp

Skeleton shrimp

No. 1.  The Stargazer.  These are truly creepy fish that hide under the sand until their prey comes by.

Stargazer

Stargazer

 

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?