I spent two weeks diving with one of these two esteemed crusty gentlemen and
I assure you that prior to taking their photo he regularly moved subjects without a second thought .
There were also others on that trip that observed the subject relocation project.
I'll definitely back that up. They are photographing for books so being "correct" is the least of their priorities. They don't claim it's natural, they just want ID or show photos. Now would their book win an award if one of the photographs was deemed unnaturally manipulated?
I've observed that boxer crabs stay under cover in the day and move about at night but still seeking cover. You don't see them running out in the open for obvious reasons. Also anyone who's been diving in Indonesia would know that dive guides will move things for photogs. It's their livelihood. It is what those mental rods are for, not to fend off attacking mantis shrimps. EG tapping on holes to bring mimics or wunderpus up and dig them out or sticking their hands and prods through muricella to find pygmy seahorses are what they have been encouraged to do for many years.
I remember at BTS a few years back, there was this presentation by a photographer who was talking about how he manipulated a frogfish to get the shot he wanted. And they had the rules of non-manipulation in the show!
Despite the hypocrisy, I like the fact the BTS managed to act on discovery of an infringement of a rule. It builds credibility for the contest and a stern warning to those who try. Doesn't mean they'll catch everyone or that people will stop trying, but it sets a nice precedent.
Joe,that's not exposing your behind, that's just called stirring!