Sunday, September 10, 2006

Feeding Oliva

This is the final photo in a series of shots capturing an Oliva sp. snail wrapping itself around a fish carcass and dragging it under the sand. I was shooting the snail without knowing that it was on the hunt. It clearly 'smelled' or otherwise sensed the dead fish and went right for it. In a matter of seconds it had wrapped its body around the fish and headed into the sand.

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Bubble Coral Shrimp

Although these bubble coral shrimp look as if they could be different species, I think they are both Vir philippinensis. The bubble coral, Pleurogyra sinuosa, is at 17 meters at Tasi Tolu.

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Sea Hare

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tube Anemone

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Allied Cowry

This is Galera manifesta, an allied cowry often found eating the soft coral, Dendronephthya. The head of the individual photographed was nicely extended clearly showing the eyes, tentacles, and sipho.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Commensal Swimmer Crab

This swimmer crab, Lissocarcinus orbicularis (3cm), was found nestled on the bottom of a sea cucumber, Actinopyga. Usually commensal crabs on cucumbers are quite small, measuring no more than 1cm.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Two-toned Pygmy Squid

Diane "Freak-eyes" finds the impossible once again.

These amazingly small animals are Two-toned Pygmy Squid, Idiosopius pygmaeus (1cm and 2cm), the larger of which is at the maximum size for the species. Pygmy Squid are usually active by night and tend to hang out around sponges, soft corals, and gorgonians. In this case, they were attached to a Green Algae, Udotea. The squid's back has a glue gland, producing an adhaesive mucus, that allows it to adhaere to seaweeds, seagrasses or other surfaces. Another gland produces the anti-glue, allowing rapid detachement.

We observed some rather interesting behavior from these two. When detached from the algae, the squids tended to engage in, what appeared to be, coupling. The smaller squid circled above the larger, and as in the second photo below, inserted its tentacles inside that of the other. It was almost as if the smaller squid was being fed by the larger. I have no idea if this even occurs in the species and it seems rather unlikely that the smaller squid couldn't hunt and eat on its own.

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White-barred Reaf Goby

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Estuary Seahorse

I think this is an Estuary Seahorse, Hippocampus kuda (12-15cm), found between Dili Rock and Tasi Tolu at about 18 meters. These seahorses are supposedly found in small aggregations, so my guess is that they are more common along the coast than we first suspected. Having said that, this partularly individual responded to the name 'Whoa!' as did another estuary seahorse found a few weeks ago, leading to the scientific basis for the theory that they were, in fact, the same individuals.

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Mantis Shrimp

This is a diminutive species of mantis shrimp, Pseudosquilla ciliata (4-5cm).

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