Readers’ wildlife photos

I suspect this will be the last installment here for about two weeks, but if you’ve sent in photos, never fear: I have them all here in Chicago. Today’s contribution is from Joe Dickinson, whose notes are indented:

Not technically “wildlife”, nevertheless here are some photos from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The first two are jellyfish.  I’m afraid I don’t know even the common names let alone the scientific binomials.

This handsome fellow (or gal) is an African penguin (Spheniscus demersus).

Here is a moray eel, perhaps Gymnothorax reticularis, being serviced by cleaner shrimp, probably Lysmata amboinensis.

These are clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris?) with an unknown species of anemone.

These next two are sort of out of their element in an aquarium.  Nevertheless, here they are.  The first is a common chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater) and the other is a desert tortoise (probably Gopherus agassizii )


These are aptly named garden eels (genus Heteroconger).

This stone scorpionfish I could only ID down to family (Scorpaenidae).

The lookdown (Selene vomer) also is very aptly named.


  1. rickflick
    Posted March 23, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    An aquarium provides great access to the undersea world. The garden eel remind me of a dive trip to
    Molokini Crater off Maui. We skimmed the white sandy bottom and could see the eels “standing” vertically above the sand. As we got closer, down they went into their holes. Sitting still for a minute, they cautiously emerged again. It was a memorable experience. This video is from a dive operator in Maui.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted March 23, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Since I’ve been to both Monterey Bay Aquarium and Molokini Crater — both marvelous places — I just had to comment, even though I have nothing to add. 🙂

      Very nice photos.

      • Joe Dickinson
        Posted March 23, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        I’ve also been to Molokini to snorkel (I don’t dive) many years ago when I did a sabbatical year at the University of Hawaii. Also, obviously, Hanauma Bay and various sites around Maui.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 23, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      There was a magazine article I read recently where aquarium scientists were debating the benefits of including realistic amounts of plastic trash in their tanks to dispel the false impression that their pristine pseudo-environments leave their visitors with. Some good points made.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 23, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        I’m not sure adding debris would be very accurate. In all my years of diving I only noticed trash offshore near certain urban environments or harbors. It would make sense to depict some bleached and dying coral due to AGW. That’s something you see quite often in the real world.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 26, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink

          When was the last time you walked a coastal beach that (1) was not in a tourist resort and (2) was not littered with plastic debris on the strand line?

          • rickflick
            Posted March 26, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            Beaches, yes. Coral reefs, not much. At least that’s been my experience.

  2. Posted March 23, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Nice! Did you use a flexible lens hood to take pictures through the glass?

    • JOe Dickinson
      Posted March 23, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I’ve done that in the past but not this time. Just got upon freak close and checked for reflections.

      • Joe Dickinson
        Posted March 23, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know where “upon freak” came from. I think I typed “up very close”. I need to be better about proofreading to see what auto correct may have done to my well chosen words.

  3. Preston Widmer
    Posted March 23, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    The anemone is probably Entacmaea quadricolor ( I know there are no bubbles on this specimen, sometimes they just don’t have them or they lose them), and the clowns are either Amphiprion percula or Amphipiron ocellaris. The coloration of the body makes me think percula, but the eyes and body shape has me leaning towards ocellaris. Counting the number of dorsal spines will give you a definite answer 9 for percula and 11 for ocellarious, although they could be hybrids. My clowns are ocellarious btw but sold as percula.

  4. Mark R.
    Posted March 23, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I’ve spent many enjoyable hours at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. Do they still have the life-sized whales in the atrium; I haven’t been there for 20 years or so.

    Thanks for sharing these.

    • Joe Dickinson
      Posted March 23, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Yes, they have whale models suspended from the ceiling (and, I think, a skeleton).

      • Mark R.
        Posted March 23, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Nice. Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  5. Posted March 23, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Nice camouflage by the scorpionfish!

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted March 23, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful photos!!! I used to dive and I miss it very much, and am also a very long way from the nearest aquarium. It was great to see these.

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