Reader Carl sent us what I think is our first underwater “Spot the. . . ” feature. I’ll reveal the answer at noon Chicago time. First, Carl’s notes (indented), and then the photo:
It seems the “Find the —” appeals to many of us, although with well camo’d critters, I’m generally trying to demonstrate their presence in pictures, not hide them (e.g., peacock flounders, scorpionfish, etc.)
A year or two ago I had found a hidden critter that I hadn’t noted until I looked at the image, even though it was right in front of me and my lens. This is a pair of frogfish, I assume “longlure” frogfish, Antennarius multiocellatus, but the lures can be hard to see, and they may be a shorter lured species-–A. nummifer??
Divers love to see frogfish, as we find them beautifully ugly, as well as hard to find. They’re a type of anglerfish, don’t move around much, mostly using their pectoral fins as a form of limb to hop about their limited area. They’re generally very well camouflaged against the sponges they stand on, making them very hard to spot, and I assume they change color to match the sponge. I’ve seen white, black, orange, green, yellow in the Caribbean. They have enormous mouths, and by opening widely and swiftly, they literally suck in their prey (whole). I haven’t seen that except in videos, but was able to time a shot of one who occasionally opened wide (don’t know why), so I’ll add that (or to another email if too large a file).
I’ve found that Bonaire dive guides spread the word among themselves, but don’t like to tell the tourists until the dive briefing, as many dives can be made from shore without using dive boats and guides risking masses of divers possibly harassing them. On this particular boat dive, we were told there was a yellow frogfish at a certain depth; don’t recall what landmarks, etc. they were using, but I kept my eye out for yellow sponges at that depth, and was fortunate to find this one before the guide and the other divers got there. I think she (??-I’m told the females are larger) had moved from the yellow sponge behind her (scared off by divers earlier in the day??), so was easier to spot. I got a few images, then pointed her out to others, so everyone could get a turn. It wasn’t until I looked at the image that I realized there was another, smaller, and better camouflaged (at least against its background) frogfish nearby, possibly her smaller mate? How could I have missed it?
Can you find it?