Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Beqa Critters!

The bulls are running like there's no tomorrow and one is tempted to completely forget that Fiji provides for some of the best all-round diving anywhere.

Enter Hugh and his camera problems!
He came over from Guam for a week of diving and ended up being relegated to his 100 mil macro - to say it mildly, not the ideal rig for Shark photography! But you have to hand it to the man that he took it in stride and made the best of his predicament by going critter hunting in Beqa Lagoon and coming up with some spectacular finds.

Like the Irish Setter aka Rufus aka Hairy Ghostpipefish pictured above, one of only very few we've ever seen in the Lagoon.
Having once been a keen macro photographer, I harbor a special interest in Ghostpipepishes and was thus surprised to note that at least one source names this Solenostomus paegnius. The usually flawless Fishbase identifies paegnius as a synonym of the valid cyanopterus, a fact that I find equally surprising considering the completely different caudal peduncles, usually a good diagnostic feature in this genus.
The fact is that Rufus has never been scientifically named. It is so rare and so cute that chances of it ever being collected (which of course is a euphemism for "bagged, killed and pickled") and properly described are slim indeed - and that's a good thing!

But I'm of course digressing.
Whatever the scientific truth: it's a great find, as are the following wonderful creepies and crawlies from Beqa Lagoon.
Click to view - and enjoy!

Yes those are eggs!

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