Clowning around with the Clownfish

Did you know…

That clownfish, also known as anemonefish, are born male, But, the dominant adult one of its group becomes female when the previous one dies. It’s an irreversible change, where it can then reproduce with another male, for the next generation of hermaphroditic organisms.

Clownfish are mostly found in coral reefs in south Asia, and Australia, feeding on a diet of plants and very small organisms (algae, zooplankton, tiny crustaceans). Clownfish live in harmony with sea anemones, sharing in food scraps and immune to their tentacle released toxins meant for prey. Those anemones also cover as shelter from larger predators. The clownfish pays their kindness back by removing parasites, and sometimes standing guard.

These strange factoids are just morsels of the countless grand wonders that make up of our complex planet, and build ecosystems meant to naturally create a long-lasting system of life coexistence.

I learned of such and more in a recent visit to the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59, where I took the above pictures. Such wonderful things, I will share of more in later postings, spread out over future times. I hope you will enjoy, and be as fascinated as I was in observing, learning of these lively occurrences.

Orion T

Life below your feet..

Starfish below

Starfish, through the clear waters below the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal pier in far West Seattle area. I notice by surprise, and quite huge, very blue or purple. Just look over the edge where the pier splits, and under the clear water on a quiet day. You may see them too.

I’m told these are purple according to some later research (I am a little color blind). Possibly these are pisaster ochraceus, or the Ochre sea star, also known as the Purple sea star.

I stare at the starfish while waiting for my transport to Vashon island. I see starfish as lazy creatures, with no patience because they wait for nothing. Here, they are likely safe from predators, meddling humans and their troublesome transports. I find amazing how their little underside can clench to almost anything that humans would find a struggling inconvenience. They simply stay, with no regard to gravity or the rising angles. In freedom, their habitat is grand, and most enjoyable for their brief 3-5 year lifespan. I imagine to be a starfish is like a day in the park, for the rest of your life.

Meanwhile, a morning of nothing else but the calm waters of Puget Sound’s Salish Sea. Then, back to the starfish. They now share a space with a lone friend, a crab. I never seen one cling to a pier like this. I can understand the ability of starfish, but how does the crab stay? See, at the water line..

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I think again, what else am I missing out there and so near? Here below, holds much company within Washington State’s massive Puget Sound. I know further north to the San Juan Islands, orca killer whales are often seen. Someday, I am saving for special with a good zoom lens and proper time to see these wonderful creatures rise. I also hear of octopi and seals below these same waters. I have seen plenty of seals from my life most along the California Coast. But for the octopi, I wish to someday personally observe in their natural habitat. Somewhere out there, far below.

Puget Sound, Salish Sea