urchins

Harboring a Soft Spot for The Harbor Seal

Some marine creatures are easier to love than others. Two of my favorites are the little white sea urchins that decorate themselves with shells and pebbles and the proliferating (also called brooding) anemones whose babies live on their bodies until they are old enough to crawl away and fend for themselves. That anemones could have parenting skills is amazing. I also have a soft spot for harbor seals. Their teardrop shaped bodies are adorably plump and those big round eyes make them seem shy and […]

Hydro-Powered Holothurians: California Sea Cucumbers

During a late afternoon dive several years ago in Fiji, I came across a sea cucumber (Bohadschia graeffei) that was upright and swaying like a cobra dancing to a snake charmer’s tune. That was very strange and I didn’t know what to make of it. I watched for a while, swam away, then came back, intending to photograph the sea cuke’s mouth and the tentacles surrounding it, which were black with flat, leafy white tips.  That’s when things got stranger. Rising in the water from […]

Sheephead: The Bold Rogue of the Kelp Forest

When I first came upon a male California sheephead, I thought I had wandered into the neighborhood of the local bully. The adult sheephead (Semicossyphus pulcher) are bigger than many fish of the Central and Southern California rocky reefs and kelp forests. With a big, blunt, black head, red mid-section, and black tail he looks at you with alert eyes, a sense of cool detachment and a mouthful of long, crooked teeth. Itʼs not just his appearance that is a bit intimidating, itʼs his attitude. […]

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