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A frantic hopping little Starry Dragonet


Subject: A Starry Dragonet (Synchiropus stellatus) has turned these boulders into its playing ground. With its bright red colours, this little charismatic bottom-dweller really stands out against the algae-covered rocks. The careful eye will have noticed a Scorpionfish on the background. To defend themselves against these and other predators these devourers of copepods and amphipods (both are very small types of crustaceans) produce a foul tasting and smelling secretion. The flamboyant red colouring is a clear warning to predators not to eat it.

Technique: It was quite a task to film this frantic hopping little Starry Dragonet between the big boulders of the reef. Barely 2,5cm/1inch long this flamboyant jewel challenged me at all stages. The trick seemed to be trying to anticipate and to predict this little fish’s path in order to place the camera and hope the critter will hop along the lens. Not only trial and error but also a lot of patience and persistence resulted in quite a nice outcome.

All images Copyright 2020 Olivier Van den Broeck and Greet Meulepas for Beyond scuba. All rights reserved.