Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another Grotto Night Dive

This is a polyclad flatworm, not a nudibranch. These are flat and have no rhinopores or gills. They are a fairly common sighting on a night dive in the Grotto, but you'll occasionally see them on day dives as well.This is a fairly common shell to see on night dives, it's a Cypraea Carneola. They will typically be about an inch long, have a rich golden color and some light bands going across the width of the shell. This guy did not have his mantle fully covering his shell, which makes him stand out when a light hits him.This is a banded candy cane shrimp. They are a very common sighting in little holes and in between rocks. This guy looked like he was asking "what are you looking at?" He wasn't the least bit timid and didn't back away at all when I put my camera up close to him to get a macro shot.This is a Bornella anguilla nudibranch, the big one on the right that looks like a little dragon with a cool pattern on it. The little snake like looking thing on the left is something I never saw when I was taking the pictures, it was too small. It wasn't until I got home and started looking at the pictures on the computer that I discovered it. I have no idea what it is, but I'm assuming it's some kind of a little worm.This crab was just hanging out on a coral covered wall looking for his next meal. Even though most of the critters down there have some amazing camouflaging abilities, once you train your eyes and get used to looking for certain characteristics, you'll be amazed how things just pop out at you.But this is what I got the most excited about on the dive. We went quite a bit later than what I normally start my night dives, we didn't hit the water until about 9 pm. That gave the critters extra time to come out and start moving around. This is a nudibranch I've never seen before, he has interesting rows of gills going up and down his body, and has two very clear rhinopores at his head. I have submitted him to nudipixel.net, but at this point they list him as an unidentified species. Hopefully they'll come up with an ID for him in the next day or two and I can give it to you here.And I just saw this guy for the first time on my last night dive, it's a Pleuredhera haraldi. They are fairly small, and blend in with the sponges on the rocks, so they are very hard to spot, unless you get lucky enough to catch one as he is moving. You certainly see a different variety of critters the later you go though, so I'm going to have to do some midnight dives coming up I can tell.And this is the license plate number of a blue and yellow 20 passenger mini bus that was sitting down by the side of the road in the Grotto when we pulled in. While I was diving outside the Grotto, I had some fishing line and a sinker go whizzing past me in the water. So I suppose it's possible that it's just a coincidence this old beat up bus with expired license plates was down there late at night, and there were illegal fishermen there at the same time, but I seriously doubt it. We went looking for them on the cliff line, but I think they hid when they heard us coming. And yes I did call Fish & Wildlife, I'm curious to find out what the outcome of that was, but they did show up.

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