Here you have five Find the Fish challenges for Oceans Day.
Photo to give a sense of the equipment needed to dive in cold water. Yes, that includes a tutu.
You may be aware that I post one such search on social media every Friday (i.e a “Find the Fish Friday” challenge)
and that there are two Find the Fish children’s books as well.
The aim of these “Where’s Waldos” of the fish world, is to help create awareness of what it looks like below the surface of the dark, cold NE Pacific Ocean. So often we are presented with marine imagery from warm waters, not realizing that it is the cold, current-rich waters of the world that have more oxygen dissolved in them. More oxygen means more life and the resulting plankton soup makes this ocean appear dark. Thereby, the colour, beauty and fragility are hidden.
Often even adults do not realize they have a bias to thinking the marine life is “better” and more abundant in warmer water. But if it is easy to see deep into the water as it is in the tropics, this is because there is less plankton. If there is less plankton, there is less food to fuel the food web and there is also less oxygen production and absorption of carbon dioxide.
So here we go.
I will first show what the fish species looks like. I will then provide the challenge and then, a link to the answer.
This is a Red Irish Lord.
They can be 51 centimetres long and are incredibly good at camouflaging.
How is that possible when they are red, yellow, pink, orange and/or white? Because that’s how colourful the life around them is, so they blend in. They can be so many different colours and even their eyes have spots on them to help the camouflage.
Can you find the Red Irish Lord in the kelp forest in the picture below? If you click the photo you can make it bigger.
Click to enlarge.
Ready for the answer? Click here.
You are searching for another Red Irish Lord in the picture below. Those anemones you see are the biggest in the world. They are called Giant Plumose Anemones and are up to 1 meter tall. Because there is so much oxygen and food in this ocean, there are many of the world”s largest marine species.
Click to enlarge.
If you are ready for the answer, click here.
Think about why the Red Irish Lords are camouflaged and are most often motionless, not swimming around the ocean in schools like other kinds of fish. What advantages does it give them to behave like this.
You probably realized that it helps them hunt. They are ambush hunters which means they wait for a fish or crab to come by and then they grab it. I have even seen crabs walk right on the face of a Red Irish Lord.
In the picture below, see what the crab is doing? By making itself really big by spreading its claws, the Red Irish Lord will not be able fit the crab into its mouth!
When an animal is camouflaged, it has a better chance of being hidden from:
1. The animals trying to eat it (predators);
2. The animals it hopes to eat (prey); and
3. Others of its kind that might compete for food or mating.
This is a Longfin Sculpin. See the amazing colours and textures. It’s a smaller fish. Maximum size is to 15 centimetres.
Can you find a Longfin Sculpin in the photo below?
All those orange circles are animals. They are Orange Cup Corals.
The rocks are covered with species of coralline algae. Yes, this is a pink type of seaweed that forms crusts all over the rocks.
The two white animals close together are a species of sea slug. They are called Yellow-Rimmed Nudibranchs. They are mating and the spiral you see is a ribbon of their eggs. There are hundreds of tiny little eggs in that spiral and the babies will hatch into the ocean.
Click to enlarge.
For the answer showing where the Longfin Sculpin is, click this link.
Longfin Sculpins look very different at night. They are among the local fish species that darken to match their night surroundings. This is called “nocturnal colouration”. You can see how very different Longfin Sculpin’s night colour is by going to my blog here.
This is a Blackeye Goby.
They are up to 15 centimetres long.
In the picture below. There are two Blackeye Gobies. One is easy to find but you will likely have to search quite hard to find the second one. As you search, notice the Giant Nudibranch. Yes, another GIANT. This kind of sea slug can be 30 centimetres long. They can swim and they are also amazing predators. I have lost of information about them in my blog at this link.
There are also more Orange Cup Corals, some Tube-Dwelling Anemones and Purple Urchins.
Click to enlarge.
Answer time? Click here.
Extra information about Blackeye Gobies: They ALL start off as females and under the right conditions, will become male. The males are tidy housekeepers, cleaning out the sand form their den. They are highly territorial and come out of their tidy homes to attract multiple females. After mating, the father fish will guard the eggs of the multiple females: ~1,600 to 27,000 eggs at a time for10 to 30 days!.
Blackeye Gobies also change colour at night to blend in better with their background.
Challenge #5 – The SUPER CHALLENGE:
This is a Scalyhead Sculpin.
They are a small fish with maximum size being only 10 centimetres. They can be a lot of different colours and the mature males have what look like big bushy eyebrows (cirri).
They are INCREDIBLE at camouflaging. There can be so many is just one small area.
Think about how big the top of a school desk is. The photo below is of an area much smaller than that and there are TWELVE Scalyhead Sculpins here!
The crab you see is a Pygmy Rock Crab. They usually hide out in the old shells of Giant Barnacles and do not get bigger than about 5 centimetres.
If you can find even six of them you have done very well.
Click to enlarge .
The answer for the locations of all twelve of the fish is at this link.
I am hoping now that when you think of the bottom of the Northeast Pacific Ocean, you have a better idea of just how colourful it is. To be sure, please see the pictures below.
There are NO fish to find in these photos. 🙂