My Favorite Fish

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Posted by Merry on September 03, 2014 at 11:43:35:

The yellowfin fringehead, Neoclinus stephensae

Relatively shallow, sandy dive sites offshore Palos Verdes are sparsely populated with boulders no larger than an old-style TV. As you swim by these unassuming rocks, note any bit of movement or irregularity. With careful scrutiny you may find this spunky fish peering out at you from its home in the rock face.

 photo YellowfinfringeheadrockDSC_7206_zps7ab5c6a2.jpg

 photo YellowfinfringeheadfinDSC_7209_zpsc1abc54c.jpg

Between 1.5 and 4 inches long with a mop of cirri dangling over each eye, the yellowfin fringehead looks like the miniature rock star of fish. When feeding, the little fish darts out from protective cover to snag a morsel, then snaps back in place like a rubber band, faster than a photographer’s shutter finger. Their dynamic behavior makes them a barrel of fun to shoot.

Yellowfin fringie with megaloma worm.

 photo YellowfinfringeheadampmegalomaDSC_7204_zps03ec5d58.jpg

Yellowfins are attentive and wary, but after several minutes of acclimation to the foreign structure of a camera rig and the bizarre creature behind it, they usually allow a stealthy approach

 photo OrangeyellowfinfringeheadBDSC_7195_zps7907873f.jpg

They come in a variety of colors, ranging anywhere from red to gray, AND can change color to match their surroundings. (Paul Humann, 1996).

 photo Yellowfinfringeheadbrown2DSC_7250_zps2cebe5d7.jpg

 photo YellowfinfringeheadbrownDSC_7219_zps0fcbc8de.jpg

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