Masters of Camouflage


Two different longlure frogfish (Antennarius multiocellatus) are pictured above. These are some of the most unique fish you'll ever see (if you can find them). They camouflage extremely well, blending into the environment to look just like a sponge. I swam past these two fish ten times before finding them. The joy in finding them isn't due to their looks (they're pretty ugly if you haven't noticed) but due to the fact that they're so rare and hard to find. When I first came across the frogfish, I only noticed one large female sitting by herself. After photographing her for around ten minutes, she swam into a vertical position with her head facing down and did a sort of mating dance. A few seconds later, a small bright yellow male frogfish appeared and walked toward the female (frogfish can't really swim; instead they walk on the seafloor using their fins). They ended up sitting next to each other, and I was able to get a few shots of both of them in the same frame.


The common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) can usually be found hiding in cracks or crevices to sleep during the day. They're nocturnal animals, meaning they wake up at night to hunt for food. I found the octopus pictured above during the day. Octopuses are generally hard to spot they are able to change the color and texture of their skin to blend in with their environment. This octopus was pretty confident in its camouflage, as it sat in a relatively exposed spot and didn't move when I got close to take pictures. If you look at the bottom of the first photo, you can see remnants of this octopus's last meal; it's holding a crab shell in the left tentacle, presumably from a crab it recently ate.


At first, the spotted scorpionfish (Scorpaena plumieri) might look like a rock, but unlike a rock, this fish has over 15 venomous spines that can ruin a day at the beach in an instant. The scorpionfish does little swimming, as it lies in wait for its unsuspecting victims to get close. Once in range, the scorpionfish will open its mouth very wide (as shown in the third picture) and swallow its prey in one gulp. Scorpionfish are fairly common, and I have seen up to seven of them sitting on the same boulder.