On the right is a tassled scorpionfish, on the left is a cone shell. Both are venomous but where the scorpion's venom is purely defensive, the cone shell uses its venom to kill food. Both are I think fairly cryptic and typical of the type of animal that regular divers overlook.
In addition to the ongoing caribbean herons saga and tuesday nudis I've decided to throw out my thoughts on underwater naturalism over a series of posts. Why you ask? Well over the course of my diving experience I've developed a feeling that a lot of average divers don't get the full experience of the unterwasser life for the simple reason they miss a lot of stuff. So, whilst I know a lot of you don't dive, I'm gonna talk a little about what to look out for and how to see more stuff for those of you who do, or may in the future.
So here's lesson #1. Make the effort to know a little bit more about what you might see before you see it. As landbased naturalists will tell you its a lot easier to see things if you know what to expect to see and what it might be up to. Get a good book or go online to learn about the marine life of the area you'll be getting wet in and you'll stand a miuch better chance of spotting the animal when confronted with a scene like this.
10 house points to whoever can tell me what's in the picture. Next time we'll look at some of the general principles involved in finding animals underwater.