Posted by: Kaj Maney
..and I’m not talking about Brangelina.
We were extremely lucky this week and saw seven different Harlequin Shrimp. Harlequin Shrimp are arguably the most desired critter that divers want to see/photograph/video. It’s easy to understand why. They are fairly large, have a wonderful colour and pattern, have an amazing shape and are rather rare.
They seem to come in several shades of blue to red and are usually in the 3cm to 4cm range. We often find them in pairs, and like many of the beautiful shrimp here (Bumblebee and Tiger) they mate for life and will raise one or two offspring ‘at home’. We find the Harlequins by starfish, and they will usually hang out in that area for for a few days, sometimes a week, before they move on. It makes any encounter very special.
So we were ecstatic to find the most beautiful Harlequin family I have yet to see. The first thing we noticed was that they were huge!!! The adults were at least 5cm (nearly 2 inches) long. The female is slightly larger than the male, both length-wise and width. The next thing that really stood out was their colour, a brash smalt deep blue colour I had never seen on a Harlequin before.
(you can click on the photos above to see them in a bigger size)
And it kept getting better as we noticed that there was a junior too. The tiny little guy really gave you an idea of just how big it’s parents were. It was wonderful to see this family together. And soon they may be more. Mum was pregnant. You could watch her rear legs fan her eggs, which are held under her tail. It was a very special dive.
We also, on the same site, found six Tiger Shrimp, a Wonderpus, many big unknown shrimp and several Blunt-End Sea Hares, which were around 40cm (over a foot) long!!!
So Barb had a photo field week. As well as the Harlequins and Tiger Shrimp, there were the rare Urchin Bumblebee Shrimp, more Hairy Norse Gods, huge Winged Pipefish, and a Coconut Octopus with eggs. Enjoy all her photos. Just click the photo-strip at the top and bottom of this blog.
Last week I mentioned the Green Mood Shrimp. These have become the latest ‘thing’ to find here. They are an un-described shrimp, possibly a variation of Phycocaris sp. or a new species.
So last week we were underwater and a diver was photographing something and when Liberty (one mf my Dive Supervisors) swam nearby, he manoeuvred his body so Liberty couldn’t see what he was photographing. No problem, Liberty moved on and thought nothing more about it.
That evening I was having a drink with this diver (we are good friends with the dive resort who discovered the shrimp) and he was telling me about how he hid the green shrimp from my dive guide that afternoon….’ah ha’ I thought. The next day I went out with Liberty and told him to show me were the diver with the camera was who was acting strangely the day before. We went straight to the rock and 40 seconds later I had found my first Little Green Shrimp. And in honour of the diver, whose name was Mood, we call it the Green Mood Shrimp!!
So my video this week is of the hardly seen Green Mood Shrimp. It is a lovely little guy (even if he does poo on camera) and this is some of the first video ever captured of this critter.
The rest of the week has been fantastic. There have been Mimics, Wonderpus, Blue Rings, Hairy and Coconut Octopus. We have seen Flamboyant Cuttlefish and their eggs. Crustaceans include Harlequin Shrimp, Harlequin Crabs, Tiger Shrimp, Urchin Bumblebee Shrimp, Green Mood Shrimp, Xeno Crabs, Decorator Crabs, Crinoid Shrimp, Orang Utan Crabs, Candy Crabs, Boxing Crabs, Mantis Shrimp (including Peacock Mantis Shrimp with eggs), Hairy Shrimp, Whip Coral Shrimp, Xenia Crabs, Xenia Shrimp, Snapping Shrimp, Amphipods, Carry Crabs, Hairy Squat Lobster, Elegant Squat Lobster, Squat Shrimp, Emperor Shrimp, Skeleton Shrimp and many more. there have been Pontohi and Bargabanti Pygmy Seahorses, Common, estuary and Thorny Seahorses, Pipehorses, Pipefish, including several different and very beautiful Winged Pipefish. we seen Ambon Scorpionfish, Napoleon Wrasse, Electric Clams, Pegasus Sea Moths, several different types of Snake Eel, Ribbon Eels, Spiny Devilfish, Leaf Scorpionfish, Waspfish, Cockatoo Flounder, Helmut Gurnards, Comets, juvenile Pinnate Batfish and Stonefish. there have been Ornate and Robust Ghost Pipefish. Frogfish include Hairy, Giant, Painted and Warty. We even saw a big Devil Ray!! A fabulous week.
Thanks to all our guests from Russia, the States and the UK. Rose, we miss you already!!!!!
Enjoy Barb’s photos. Click on the top or bottom photo strip to see them all.
Date Posted: March 19, 2012 @ 7:31 pm Comments Off