Evil Eye

It may be a bit of a sour title to accompany the text on such a lovely and intriguing fish, but the words are chosen carefully: when Signal Gobies (Signigobius biocellatus) feel threatened they erect their dorsal fins to reveal two big eye-spots or ocelli. Looked at from the side, these spots mimic the eyes of a bigger animal, with the aim to convince any potential predator to leave this fish alone.

Once the Goby can relax again, it carries on with its usual business of feeding and digging burrows.

This Crab-eyed Goby, another common name, is a typical sand sifter, meaning that it feeds by scooping up sediment with its frog-like mouth and filter it through its gills.

Twin-spot Gobies, as they are also sometimes called, form monogamous pairs.
The couple spends a lot of time digging burrows that will serve as shelter or a place to lay their eggs. Once the female is ready to reproduce she will lay her clutch inside one of the burrows the couple carefully prepared. After that she will usher the male inside and seal him in for a couple of days. A couple can attend up to six burrows with eggs at more or less the same time. After the incubation period only one juvenile fish will appear out of each hole.

The range of occurrence of these charming fish is not that big. They are known from the Philippines, Australia (the Great Barrier reef), Palau, Indonesia (mainly Sulawesi and Halmahera), New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

We consider ourselves very lucky to have found this pair in Bali!

The Underwater Christmas Spirit

The Underwater Christmas Spirit

Who says that the Christmas atmosphere cannot be found in tropical places where it is always sunny (or should I say ‘always warm’, it has been pouring cats and dogs this whole week after all)?
To be honest: I do.
Beaches, 30-degree temperatures and palm trees just don’t match with “cozy family gatherings by the fire or under the Christmas tree”.
So I went looking for the Christmas feeling below the ocean surface. Camera in hand I was determined to shoot every scenery that reminded me of all things related to this holidays season.
I actually had a lot of fun and was even surprised by how many subjects I found, I just could not stop taking pictures! I spend four dives shooting just that: Christmas-like sceneries. I even found a ‘snowy landscape’ and a Christmas Angel (which is in fact a feather duster worm spreading its golden ‘wings’)!
One of my favorites you see here.
This beam of ‘heavenly light shining down onto the innocent crinoid’ is actually taken with a snoot. My first snoot ever. And I really like the effect it gives in this picture.

I used the best images to make original underwater Christmas cards. I think especially divers will like them. At least I hope that will be the case 😉
For those who are interested all these images I took and the Christmas cards are to be found on my website: http://www.greetm-photography.com


Portrait of an Alien

Portrait of an Alien

People have not been very original when naming this species. Nor have they been very consistent either. Because this shrimp has long, thin arms ending in red claws it has been named: Thin-arm Shrimp, Long-arm Shrimp and Red-scissor Commensal Shrimp. Since most of its body is completely see-trough it is also known as Ghost Shrimp, Glass Shrimp, Transparent Commensal Shrimp and Invisible Shrimp. Even the scientific name it is not entirely unequivocal. Is it Cuapetes or Periclimenes tenuipes?
Anyway, I do not think this mother-to-be has any sleepless nights over how she is called; she has obviously more important things on her mind right now, like protecting the eggs she is carrying….
Cuapetes (or Periclimenes) tenuipes individuals are free-living on sandy bottoms or in holes. Sometimes they are found on sea anemones and sponges. Presumably looking for food as they feed on parasites, algae and plankton.
Apparently they sometimes live together with mantis shrimps as well as these predators are found sharing their hole with one of these tiny aliens.

Jungle Crab

Jungle Crab

Not so long ago we came across this woolly peculiarity.
Aptly named after the orange coloured acrobats of the rainforest, the Orangutan crab is characterized by long legs covered with hairs and debris.
The species belongs to the family of the decorator crabs (Inachidae) but the genus identification (Oncinopus sp.1, formerly classified as Achaeus japonicus) is still uncertain.
While often spotted on bubble corals, this individual was balancing on the thin branches of a hydroid colony.