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Yellowfin fringehead, Neoclinus stephensae

Yellowfin fringehead, Neoclinus stephensae
Yellowfin fringeheads (Neoclinus stephensae) have the best coiffure on
the reef. This animal has chosen a conspicuous patch of reef in which to make
his home. As such, it's easy to find. I usually drop by if I'm in the
neighborhood. As with most fringeheads, it's an almost sure bet that it'll be
home. This consistency peaked my curiosity. I wondered if these fringeheads are
exclusively ambush predators or if they sneak out under cover of darkness to
find themselves a meal. Naturally, I paid a visit one day at about one AM. The
hole appeared empty, but to be sure, I illuminated its interior. What I saw was
one perturbed looking eye and a big head of hair withdrawn well into the bore.
Oops! Sorry man.

    "Shale Island", Monterey Bay, California
    March 19, 2006

Yellowfin fringehead, Neoclinus stephensae, Orange cup coral, Balanophyllia elegans
It's often quite difficult to figure out the scale of subjects in underwater
photographs. If the photographer is taking pictures of something quite small,
like this yellowfin fringehead (Neoclinus stephensae), and wants everyone
viewing the picture to know the scale, then, it's a good idea to include some
kind of reference item in the shot itself. This image uses an orange cup coral
(Balanophyllia elegans) for this purpose.  While the cup coral, like the
fringehead, is likely unfamiliar to the viewer, the transparency of its arms are
an almost sure indication if its size.

    "Tanker Reef", Monterey Bay, California
    April 15, 2006

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