Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Latest Hanauma Bay Newsletter input


Very interesting article in the May issue of National Geographic. It discusses the use of color and patterns by our underwater friends. Seems that there’s a lot more than meets the eye down below!

Now, it’s clear that our critters adorn themselves in color for many obvious reasons. These include enticing a critter of the feminine persuasion to mate (hey there sweetie, check out my blue stripes, I am soo hot!), advertising armament (such as the orange highlights around the spine of the Orangespine Unicornfish), showing mood swings (not tonight darling, I have a headache), etc.

Additionally, critters use color to advertise services, as we see in the many ‘cleaner’ services being offered by both fish and shrimp. Color can also be used to evade predators, catch prey and to even hide in plain sight.

The authors of the article, using a technique called microspectrophotometry (ahh, the word rolls right off your tongue) actually analyzed the photosensitivity and visual pigments of various reef-fish eyes to determine how and what fish see. Then, measuring wavelengths of light reflected off reef features, they also calculated an average reef color. Well, it turns out that the yellow and blue colors which predominate on many damselfish, wrasses, and angelfish actually blend well with that average reef background thus providing camouflage from predators.

As to patterns, they determined that spots and stripes favored by many of the reef critters actually blur together at a distance, enabling even stationary fish to merge into the background.

In some cases, rather than the actual color, it may be the stark contrast of colors which actually sends a message. A good example of this is the Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp. Their red body appears black at depth and thus contrasts well with their white legs and antennae. It may be this contrast which serves as a neon sign advertising the ‘cleaning business.’

All this info got me wondering just what fish see when they look at us! Am I wasting big bucks buying the bright red deluxe speedo if it appears to be basic black at depth? Should I spring for the blue vertical stripe and yellow spot patterned speedo instead? Will those patterns advertise my virility or will the critters think I’m opening a full service ‘cleaning station?’ Or, as I suspect, are those critters that I assume are saying ‘cheese’ as I snap their photos, actually engaged in a gagging sensation or laughing uncontrollably? Hmm, I wonder!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Silas the Boxfish finally succumbed to his 'feminine side' and had the Surgeonfish inject silicone into his lips to 'plump them up.' Unfortunately, his new lips proved useless for grazing algae and he died from starvation 3 short weeks later. Ahh vanity!
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sniff! Sniff! "Geez, I think this algae is overripe!"
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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Organic, smorganic! I don't care! I'm hungry!
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Thursday, August 18, 2005

As Oscar the Ornate Butterflyfish nibbled his breakfast, he couldn't help but remember his mothers admonition. "Remember son, don't forget to eat your browns!"
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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Orrin the Surgeonfish was sporting new 'ink' at the recent all you can eat clam fest! His new orange bar tattoo clearly marked him as a member of the notorious Renegades! A group of fish responsible for loan sharking and algae extortion.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ernie couldn't believe that the Crustacean 'sect' was once again ringing his doorbell in hopes of helping him find 'eternal salvation.' "Geez," he mused, "maybe I should post a 'No Solicitation' sign!"
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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Ross, the Undulated Eel, inadvertently hypnotizes himself by staring at his tail, waving back and forth in the strong currents. He was later found attempting to eat algae, convinced he was a turtle!
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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pete the Pufferfish's psoriasis was beginning to take a toll on his 'psyche.'
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