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Long Island Collecting Log: Cold-water strays

 Typically, my last dive of the season in New York takes place by late October, but, since poor weather kept me out of the water for the last two weeks of the month, I thought I would push the limits of my cold tolerance with a November dive this year.  With water temperature down to 59°F, I knew I wouldn’t last long in the 7mm wetsuit I use all summer, and I didn’t expect to see any tropical fish, but after a break in the rough autumn weather and with visibility improving, I just couldn’t resist. MORE

4 Good Reasons to Be a Marine Aquarium Mentor

Though in many ways keeping a marine aquarium is easier today than it’s ever been, entry into our hobby is still fraught with confusion. To a large extent, this is can be attributed to the incredible variety of choices available nowadays for meeting the husbandry requirements of marine livestock as well as solving various problems that arise. Heck, the reef-lighting options alone are so diverse that if I were just starting out in the hobby today, my head would probably explode trying to process all that information! And, of course, there’s still a pretty hefty learning curve to mastering the fundamentals of the hobby.That’s why I urge all you experienced salties out there to share your wisdom with at least one novice hobbyist as a marine aquarium mentor. Here are 4 other good reasons to do so: 1. It’s refreshing Ask any teacher, and he or she will tell you that explaining a concept to students or guiding them through a step-by-step process is the best way to refresh your own knowledge on the subject. Not to mention, if the flame of your passion for the marine aquarium hobby has been burning a bit low as of late, mentoring an enthusiastic newcomer might just be the spark to reignite it. 2 MORE

The Trade in Saltwater Aquarium Fishes: Philippines Part 3

 This is segment three in a multi-part series on the marine aquarium trade and marine aquarium trade data. I’m Ret Talbot reporting from the Philippines as a special report to Reefs.com. In this segment, we’ll look at the data collection project that yielded the most comprehensive marine aquarium dataset ever published and how that project laid the groundwork for the data collection that is about to begin in the Philippines. Thanks for watching, and if you have questions or comments feel free to comment below or email me directly at Ret@RetTalbot.com. Once I return to the States, I’ll be looking to answer any questions and continue the dialog with you on why data matter. Click here to watch Part 2 in the series.

Dark Mantis Shrimp, Neogonodactylus curacaoensis

black mantis shrimp - reefsGood afternoon all, I think this is a Dark Mantis Shrimp, Neogonodactylus curacaoensis, but like so many times before, I could be wrong… I’m pretty sure it’s a mantis shrimp of some kind and a very colorful one at that. I found this guy at around 40 feet out in front of the Substation entrance living deep inside a little hole in the rock. The opening you see here to his little cave was only about two inches wide and as you can see, he is half that size.   MORE

Samuel Fallours’ Surreal Fish Art: part 2

Not all of these illustrations lend themselves to easy identification.

Not all of these illustrations lend themselves to easy identification.

 Because of this judicious use of artistic license and the general unfamiliarity an early 18th-century Dutchman would have had regarding the reef fishes of Indonesia, an effort had to be made on the part of Renard to verify the legitimacy of the work he was about to publish. To this end, he acquired a written affidavit from Samuel Fallours, who stated, “I declare that the fishes included in this collection were drawn and painted by me from nature. This was done to the best of my ability, not believing that the human arts can express the beauty of the colors of these fishes when caught alive…” 
A rather respectable attempt at a Schooling Bannerfish.

A rather respectable attempt at a Schooling Bannerfish.

 Still, we have reason to question the truthfulness of Mr. Fallours, for alongside his illustrations were brief accounts of these creatures which don’t exactly corroborate well with what we now know about their biology and life history. Take, for instance, the notes which accompany the Spiny Lobster stating that it lives in the mountains, where it climbs trees to eat fruit, that it dislikes snakes, and that it lays red-spotted eggs the size of a pidgeon’s. And what of the story concerning how he kept a pet frogfish (Antennarius spp.) alive in his home, out of water, for three days, and that it followed him around like a puppy. And then there’s the yarn about the pipefish which whistles loudly and can be folded like a handkerchief and put in one’s pocket, only to unfold to its former shape when removed.
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Curaçao log: My traveling muse – Day 3

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Curaçao Blue.

 Curaçao log: My traveling muse Day 3 – October 13, 2015
Tuesday. The sun has set hours ago, casting the sky into a featureless obsidian. But unlike the hapless humans, creatures of the ocean seek solace and comfort in the stars and spotlight, inching their way towards the steel hull of the Chapman. A condition most favorable to pen down my thoughts, for today was nothing short of exciting. As I surround myself in the rhythmic sloshing of the waves, I pour my memories into this entry. Fluid consciousness seeks nothing more than a paper on which to paint, and like a silent metronome, my day began at the crack of dawn. With Bruce and Dutch waiting, and the curasub humming, today would prove to be an intense tango in the twilight, a moment filled with piscine enthrallment. MORE

Samuel Fallours’ Surreal Fish Art: part 1

The Imperator Angelfish. Fallours accurately depicts the Pacific Ocean form, with its threadlike extension of the dorsal fin.

The Imperator Angelfish. Fallours accurately depicts the Pacific Ocean form, with its threadlike extension of the dorsal fin.

 The illustrations featured in this article represent the earliest color images of Indo-Pacific coral reef fishes ever to be printed. They originate from a compendium on the marinelife of Indonesia published in Amsterdam in 1719 by a part-time pharmacist/British spy and illustrated by a soldier-cum-clergyman’s assistant with a knack for embellishment. Neither had any particular experience or expertise in natural history, and this oftentimes shows through in the quality of their work.
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Crab Molt


Good morning friends, here’s something cool from my trip to Klein Curacao last Friday. These are NOT live crabs, they are molts or skeletons that got left behind during the night. We found these Tidal Spray Crab molts (Plagusia depressa) over the shoreline and each was so different and colorful that I figured I’d post a bunch of them for you to see. The crabs pick a rock with a rough surface and hook their claws into it and pull it’s new body out of the old shell exiting from the rear, it is so cool!! MORE


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