Saturday, February 25, 2006

Its the (really) little things

I think anyone who takes nature photos and underwater pictures in particular will be familiar with the situation where you see something amazing but don't have the tools to hand to get a good photograph of it. In this situation I tend to clip off the camera and enjoy the moment but when a divemaster pointed out these spectacular pygmy seahorses I had to give it a go.

These are Hippocampus bargibanti and they are about 1.5cm (3/5 of an inch). There are a number of other pygmies and as the love of underwater macro photography spreads I think people will find more and more as they know what to look for. This species lives on red or more rarely yellow (as in the first photo) sea fans and their skin reacts with the fan and grows a similar coating of bumps and tubercules making them almost invisible. Having found them I took a couple of shots but unfortunately my camera couldn't focus down enough to take a nice shot. I've taken the liberty of drawing a few labels on in case you have trouble spotting them. Click to see a bigger pic.

In this final shot the sea fan's feeding tentacles are out so you can see what the red bumps are and the pygmy is looking straight at the camera so you can only see his tube snout and a fat little belly (which I think may harbour some eggs (male seahorses hold the eggs)).

4 comments:

Home Bird said...

Tai, these are fascinating creatures and photos. What an exotic world you work in! Beautiful blog, btw.

tai haku said...

Thank you - my photos really don't do these justice - check out these close ups: http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=53790

Pam in Tucson said...

Tai - I looked for postings from you on the latest Circus of the Spineless, http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2006/02/
circus-of-spineless-6.html, but didn't see any.

I hope you'll contribute to that Carnival in the future. You have so much to share and it's possible there are some enthusiasts who haven't found you yet.

tai haku said...

Thank you Pam. I am an avid Circus of the Spineless reader and had meant to find something interesting to contribute (I have a couple of images stored away of some rather interesting inverts for future entries) but lost track of time this week. I'll have to diarise the submissions dates for this and IATB more carefully!