Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus)

This species is quite similar to the one of the previous post. Not only do Leaf Scorpionfish look a bit like waspfish, but also they behave in a similar way: Leaf Scorpionfish sway with the water movement too, pretending to be dead leafs in order to ambush their prey. The difference between the two species lies in the onset of the dorsal fin: the dorsal fin of Leaf Scorpionfish starts well behind the eye, while the dorsal fin of Cockatoo Waspfish starts above the eye. Additionally, Leaf Scorpionfish have cirri –leafy appendages- above the eyes, which Cockatoo Waspfish lack. Both species belong to the order of the scorpionfishes, but while the Leaf Scorpionfish is a member of the Scorpionidae, waspfishes now belong to a family of their own: the Tetrarogidae. Leaf Scorpionfish are highly variable in colour. Possible colorations include white, yellow, brown and bright pink.

Ablabys taenianotus (Cockatoo Waspfish)

Although this species is known to be nocturnal, thus far we have only encountered it during the day. We see it roughly a few times a year making it a special find on a dive. They are fun to look at, swaying sideways, pretending to be a dead leaf in order to ambush potential prey. Even though they are family of the scorpionfishes, and they do have venomous spines on their dorsal fin, strangely enough the name Ablabys is believed to come from the Greek word for “harmless”… I think it has something to do with its cute face.

In an Octopus ‘s Garden…

This Wonderpus photogenicus has recently been given its name and for good reason: for a full half hour this intriguing cephalopod has been alternating between walking about and posing for the camera. It is a very inquisitive little thing: reaching out its arms in order to investigate my hand as I try to take its picture. The Wonderpus might be closely related to the famous Mimic octopus, known for its impressive impersonations of lionfish, sea snakes and flatfish. The difference between these two very similar octopus species is that Wonderpus is smaller and has more distinctive stripes whereas the markings of the Mimic octopus are less clearly defined and more variable.