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Posts posted by Leslie

  1. The last pair on earth? Maybe if you were on the last bit of coral in existence but not on a healthy reef, thank goodness. And thanks for the offer but I don't think we could ever get in the water together - I'd be stealing your models as soon as you were done with them & you'd be emptying my collecting bags while I was doing it! :)


  2. Thanks, Craig. These transparent bits look like debris & mucus either caught on the soft coral or extruded by the coral itself. I suspect your shrimpies were some sort of 'pod - copepod, ostracod, amphipod, etc - which would be in the right size range for the pygmy's mouth.



    Microscopes, cameras, & small boats just don't mix. Even on a big boat like the Atlantis there's so much vibration the image quality is impaired. Considering just how many plankters there are the sacrifice of a few won't impact the population! And besides, then you can send them off to a specialist & get verified ids to go along with the image. (I hate killing critters too but it's the only way to get specimens for study.)



    The Indo-Pacific has an estimated 350 species of sea spiders; the Caribbean probably doesn't have as many but definitely more than one! Your fellow might have been dining on that sponge or just crossing it in search of a more tempting meal. And most of them do have eyes. I'm not sure but the number of eyes might be used in identifying them. there's lots of info on the web. (Warning! Stop reading now if you don't want info overload :) ) One of the top experts is Bonnie Bain from Australia. her website <http://www.invertebrate.ws/seaspider/> has good general info but poor images. An antarctic field guide site belonging to Scripps has good field images including one fellow dining on an anemone (some of these guys get up to 2 FEET in diameter!)

    <http://scilib.ucsd.edu/sio/nsf/fguide/arthropoda48.html > A paper just came out by C.Allan Child, another top expert, on Caribbean pycnogonids but this is really getting into pure taxonomy: C.A. Child. 2004. Some pycnogonida from the western Caribbean with description of 3 new species. Bulletin of Marine Science 74: 143-162. In general any good invert text will have a chapter on sea spiders.

    Cheers, Leslie

  4. One of my favorite groups even if they're not worms! Unfortunately, no specimen = no reliable id. :) Even some of my best microscope shots with good DOF & showing every last spine only get tentative names from experts. I don't think yours can be taken past Caprellidae but I'll past it on to some pod guys to be sure. Did you notice that the caprellid seems to be attached to a brittle star arm rather than the cuke?


  5. Poor Laz, pretty soon you're going to start craving the kind of glass that only comes in microscopes. Forget that 105 w/ a 4T diopter, just get a Leica MZ12 and you'll be able to do 8:1 to 100:1. Of course, it might be a little tricky to take it underwater but I'm sure you'll figure that out! :)


    The sea spider is awfully nice. It's really hard to get a good combination of focus & depth with these little guys. By the way, it's a he, not a she - like seahorses the males carry the eggs after the females lay them.


    It's not surprising that this isn't in Humann's book. His creature id books are great but they basically show the big or popular stuff, which is probably less than 1% of what's actually there.


    Cheers, L

  6. Hi Paul - Another superb shot. I like it uncropped. The small yet perfectly detailed shrimp on the background really gives a sense of scale & isolation. The background (a sea cucumber?) is equally well focused but not distracting.


    The link to the gallery shot worked fine but I couldn't get into any of your other shots. Is the problem on my end or yours?

    Cheers, Leslie

  7. I care, Art! About a year & a half ago I was contacted by Dr Niels Lindquist (UNC, North Carolina) for information on the same image of a Caribbean isopod that you posted earlier:

    <http://www.nhm.org/guana/bvi-invt/bvi-surv...i04/h0705ax.htm> and which is a Santia. Niels mentioned he was working on other Santia from the Indo-Pacific. I found out today that at least some of his specimens belong to the genus Uromunna and these look much closer to Eric's little orange guys than my Santia. See http://oeb.harvard.edu/palumbi/people%20pa...ul_isopods.html


    The really neat thing about these guys - both Caribbean & Indo-Pacific - is that they're covered with a layer of symbiotic cyanobacteria. That's the fluffy orange stuff in Eric's image & the red spheres in mine. The cyanobacteria provide a chemical defense to the little critters, allowing the isopods to freely move about without being eaten by predators. Apparently the isopods eat it as well which would make their flesh as nasty tasting as the cyanobacteria itself.

    Cheers, Leslie

  8. I considered that name for #88 & discarded it. Koehler's picture looks a little overexposed but is it really in need of white balance? Besides being edged in yellow the underside of Koehler's P. depiliktabub is blackish-gray while the exposed underside of Karl's animal is the same blue as the top margin. There's a picture of P. depiliktabub (yellow margins again) in the flatworm bible, "Marine Flatworms: the world of polyclads" by Leslie Newman & Lester Cannon - and it ought to be id'ed correctly since Newman & Cannon described it. Karl, you might want to contact Leslie Newman directly for help with this one. She's at Southern Cross University, New South Wales.


  9. Stunning photos.... I normally just glance at reef shots on my way to the macros but your opening reef shots were just too beautiful to pass up! And the macros were equally good. A few taxonomic notes: 71 is Chromodoris magnifica; 75 is a flatworm, Pseudoceros lindae; and 83 (the yellow one Herb asked about) is a holothuroid, Colochirus robustus. The swimming flatworm (apparently Acanthozoon in Newman & Cannon's new book) is indeed a knockout! Thanks for sharing--


  10. James - I just talked to our shark guy, Jeff Seigel. He said that Santa Monica Bay appears to be the birthing area for the northern population of white sharks. The mothers come here, pup, & go back north leaving the young ones behind. The babies stay for a year or more before heading north. Every year we get notified about or receive several small ones caught by net fishermen in the bay. Whether the southern ones do the same is unknown (at least he hasn't heard anything about it).


    Something I didn't know is that great whites have been protected in California since 1994. It's illegal to fish or kill them. They can only be taken with a scientific permit for research. Commercial fishermen either release them or notify Fish & Game personnel who contact researchers. There a CDFG information sheet at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/whiteshark.html - it talks about how to avoid being attached as well as natural history.


  11. On my screen only the tip of the snout & the jaws show on shot 1 but I really like it - sorta like the first view of "Alien" or a jurassic park raptor as the jaws loom in the dark over the head of the unsuspecting victim. Very atmospheric! Of the modified ones I think the first is better. Did you use thePS dodge tool to bring out the head in shot 3?



    We did not make any attempt to collect specimens of any invetebrates. Most academic institutions require donated specimens to be accompanied by official, written, government authorization paperwork. Getting this authorization can take a long time...not easy to do in the field, although we've done it before.




    It's true, under the US Lacey Act we can't accept specimens that aren't legally collected & exported. We would face a substantial fine & possibly lose our accreditation if caught doing so. Ironically the Lacey Act has put a crimp in scientific collecting which helps protect biodiversity while wildlife smuggling is on the increase. I know getting the authorization is a pain (we often start up to a year in advance of a field survey) but it's worth it, especially if there are new species. It's just a pity that you won't have accurate ids to go with all of the photos.


    I can probably help you with some of the ids and also put you in touch in taxonomists working in the area. Send me a PM if you're interested.

    Cheers, Leslie

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