We regularly post short Marine Wildlife Videos an Photographs with a short explanation regarding the subject and the technique used to capture the image.

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Subject: A light-coloured Coral Grouper (Cephalopholis miniata) dashes into a shoal of Goldbelly Cardinalfish (Apogon apogonides). Groupers are piscivores and will venture around coral heads and bommies where food is abundant and the pickings are easy. The Cardinalfish in their turn apply the principle of safety in numbers.

Technique: When filming scenery where the subjects are at different distances from your camera’s lens you will have to increase your depth of field. This is achieved by increasing your f-stop (= reducing your aperture). A side effect of a larger f-stop/small aperture (smaller opening on your camera’s diaphragm) is that less light is entering your camera and therefor you will have to increase the intensity of your lights or increase your ISO.

Subject: Although juvenile Threespot Dascyllus (Dascyllus trimaculatus) are no anemone fish, they are often associated with anemones where they form aggregations. Because these juveniles are susceptible to predation they reside in the vicinity of an anemone or in between the spines of large sea urchins, to protect themselves against predatory fish. As adults their black colour faints and they often loose the white spot on their forehead. When reaching adulthood, these damsels reside in smaller groups, usually around coral-bommies.

Technique: Nervous and frantically swimming juveniles… the choice of music for this shot was obvious.

  • Olivier - Beyond Scuba

Subject: The stonefish has elevated camouflage to a form of art: matching colouration, adjusted skin texture, algae coverage and the ability to lie immobile for hours make him almost indistinguishable from the rocks on his side. It takes a while before you realize that the stone you are looking at is actually a fish. Is this Stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa) lying in ambush in a cleaning station that is run by White-banded Cleaner Shrimps (Lysmata amboinensis), is he just enjoying a cleaning or is he combining the useful with the pleasant (a cleaning before or after dinner or as they say in Latin “utile dulci”)? If he effectively lies in ambush then this a brilliant hunting strategy.

Technique: Patience is key. I took me almost an entire hour to have a mere 30 seconds of broadcastable quality footage of this extraordinary behavior. But just as with everything in life; good things will come to those who are patient. I ran unfortunately low on air and had to leave the water so I have no idea if the “utile dulci” theory is real stonefish behaviour.