Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Clasper and Leech of the Spotted Wobbegong

One of the cool animals I encounted while in PNG a few weeks ago was a Spotted Wobbegong Shark (2 meters). (I was shooting macro and had a very difficult time fitting the entire shark in my viewfinder, so the shot to the left is from the Georgia Aquarium website). The current was a bit strong so I only snapped a few photos, including this shot of the shark's clasper (25cm). A clasper is not really a penis (nor does it "clasp"), it is a cartilaginous extension designed to deliver sperm into the female's vent. This particular clasper had something rather odd (10cm) attached to it.

According to Leslie Harris from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, that odd attachment is actually a marine leech. Leslie says that' "leeches live everywhere. Some are quite specialized in their food habits/behavior, for example, the species only found attached to the anus of green sea turtles. Others are less so and will go after any fish or warm-blooded animal that passes by. These generalists are more likely to just attach, fill up, and drop off. The specialized ones may spend most of their lives attached to suitable hosts."

While I appreciate Leslie's help and learning more about marine leeches, I didn't really need to know that they would go after any "warm-blooded animal that passes by". The last time I checked, we divers fit into that category too! Mind your claspers!

For more information on Spotted Wobbegongs, check out this site:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday Night Fever

Diane and I spent an hour of paradise together last Tasi Tolu. It started with the most fantastic shaggy filefish and ended with a long-armed octopus hunting in the rocks at 4 meters.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Haliotis sp.

Haliotis sp. (2cm) from tonight's dive at Dili Rock. Click on the photo for a larger version.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Parrot Protection

We saw this beautiful blue parrotfish last night at Dili Rock. The parrotfish had blown a protective bubble around its body, a defensive perimeter to help detect potential predators of the night.


And this is one of the predators which was scouring the reef last night looking for a meal.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Giant Frogfish at Dili Rock

The amazing Lendell found a giant frogfish this afternoon at Dili Rock. As the second photo shows, this guy is around 20cm!

We also saw about 20 HUGE bumphead parrotfish at just 3 meters! Great dive!

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The Eye

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Orange Frogfishes at K41

Thanks to Wayne Lovell from FreeFlow for pointing out this fantastic orange frogfish at K41.

And not to be outdone, Kim Smythes discovered this little guy hanging out nearby.

Juvenile Cuttlefish eating Fish

Look closely...the tail of a green fish is all that remains from this cuttlefish's lunch.

Parasite City

Monday, October 01, 2007

Night Dive at Dili Rock

Lendell and I had a relaxing dive at Dili Rock this evening. Found this nice orange-tipped anemone and a few other goodies.

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Spiny Lobster

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