When you post a request please keep a few things in mind:
- The title should include the kind of animal, like fish, gorgonian, etc. That will make sure people interested in fish won't have to look at worm pics and vice versa! Only say "mystery critter" if you don't have a clue as to what it is.
- In your post tell us as much as you can about where you found it. Indonesia? Red Sea? Cozumel? Artic? That's very important. Many species look alike but can be separated on the basis of where & how they live. Include depth, day or night, and what kind of habitat.
- Some animals are commensals and can be identified just by what they're living on. So if you have a pic of a commensal crab living on a sea pen & you have a pic of the sea pen as well please post both of them.
- Prize winning artistic shots aren't always good id shots. You have a better chance of getting a name if the shot is a clear view of the whole body & especially if you can provide two - one each from above & from the side. For corals & gorgonians it's sometimes necessary to have pics of the polyps both extended and withdrawn. We know that animals rarely cooperate & sometimes you're lucky to get one blurry shot. In that case don't be too disappointed if no one can supply a name.
- The smaller the animal, the harder it is to id it correctly. Many of the features an id'er needs to see are internal, transparent, too small, or otherwise not visible in a photograph - like fin rays in a goby or bristles on a worm. There are thousands of undescribed species out there. Even if an animal is described there may not be any pictures of living ones so there's no way to match your beautiful photo to a name. Sad but true...
- Always keep in mind that your mods need to justify their continuing purchases of expensive taxonomic literature & guide books to their significant others (and the taxman) so help us out by posting frequently!