What’s the name of this fish again?

North Indian anemonefish

Also, I believe, properly known as a Clark’s Anemonefish. Like all species, identification is difficult because people everywhere call them by different common names.

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Toxic beauty…

Lionfish

Lionfish at Minerva’s Ledge.

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Schooling

I am studying global environmental issues at the moment, but there’s certainly a small part of me that would love to be a marine biologist and a pure scientist. To know what goes on — what social mechanics are ingrained — in schools of fish would be, I believe, quite literally awe-some.

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Like you’ve had too much wine… it’s a moray!

Bitey?

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When the world seems to shine… it’s a moray!

Open wide...

Ok, so the Dean Martin headlines might me getting old. But who — besides someone I love who doesn’t love snakes and snake-like creatures — doesn’t like moray eels?

I like moray eels.

Apologies for the Hurricane Irene-induced Internet/blogging disruption. I can’t really complain. A new professor in my department lost her living room when a giant oak toppled in uninvited. No one was hurt, we’re thankful.

The tree should have been able to withstand the comparatively weak winds, except that the root system was cut to make room for sidewalks. Mankind shows its brilliance (read: hubris) and mastery over nature.

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Like a big pizza pie… it’s a moray!

Hey little buddy

More from the moray eel files. This comes from Minerva’s Ledge.

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When the moon hits your eye… it’s a moray!

He's just chilling...

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Sluggish

Varicose wart slugs

Sea slugs are cool. They’re part of the larger classification that also includes all the various types of nudibranch. Sadly, however, in the Andamans, the more delicate, fast evolving and intricate nudibranchs have disappeared.

One likely cause, according to an ecologist I dived with: coral bleaching (at least partly induced by climate change which is at least partly induced by the massive human carbon footprint) which is destroying the reef habitat of the nudibranch.

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Evil, evil fish

Devil fish

Well, not really… but I have a healthy fear of the titan triggerfish. Though most are wary of divers, some have been known to be hyper-aggressive, ramming and biting divers.

And as the fish can grow two-and-a-half feet long with jaws that crush coral, an encounter with an angry titan is not a pleasant thing. Many of the fish off Koh Tao, Thailand, seem the be particularly aggressive and I’ve watched a nesting trigger attack divers.

This trigger paid me no mind, however, as it cruised along Minerva’s Ledge near Havelock Island.

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Deadly but harmless

Hunting

Meet the banded sea krait, also known as the yellow-lipped sea krait, one of the most beautiful and also deadly creatures I’ve encountered underwater. It’s not a common find but is endemic to the Indian ocean.

As a snake (though there are eels that pose), the krait must return to the surface regularly to breathe. However, respiration aside, the creature is fully at home in water.

Its venom is among the most powerful in the world (allegedly ten times that of a King Cobra) though the snake is all but harmless to divers. It’s mouth is too small to bite large creatures and it is ambivalent to things that are not its prey.

The krait hunting is truly a sight to behold. Almost hypnotic as it weaves in and out of coral and rock.

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