Nudibranchs – Colorful sea slugs of Okinawa

Nudibranchs are shell-less gastropods. They are some the most bizarre looking underwater animals found in our oceans. They can be challenging to to find due to their small size and confusing patterns. Nudibranchs are slow moving, delicate and lack a protective shell. Some are extremely distasteful and bright colors warn predators that they are toxic. Some even have the ability to ingest stinging cells and use them as a form of protection.

The best way to find sea slugs:    Move slow!  Search around sponges, hydroids, sea squirts, anemones, soft coral, rocks and reef ledges.

Train the eye:  They can be challenging to find, I recommend tagging along with experienced divers that already have an eye for finding them.

Below are some of my favorite images of sea slugs. Photography by Shawn M Miller.

Chromodoris willani

Chromodoris willani

Phestilla melanobranchis

Phestilla melanobranchis

Phyllidia varicosa

Phyllidia varicosa

Roboasta gracillis

Roboasta gracillis

Chromodoris aureopurpurea

Chromodoris aureopurpurea

 

Aldisa albatrossae

Aldisa albatrossae

Tritonospsilla alba

Tritonospsilla alba

Phyllidia elegans

Phyllidia elegans

27429475356_4380fdabcb_b

Gymnodoris nigrocolor – parasite

Chromodoris kuniei

Chromodoris kuniei

Chromodoris annae

Chromodoris annae

Chromodoris sp

Chromodoris sp -space odyssey

Janolus sp

Janolus sp

Noumea angstolutea

Noumea angstolutea

Chromodoris coi

Chromodoris coi

Phyllidia coelestis

Phyllidia coelestis

Flabellina rubrolineata

Flabellina rubrolineata

Glossodoris cruenta

Glossodoris cruenta

Chromodoris annae -Ryukyu flare

Chromodoris annae -Ryukyu flare

Learn more about the beautiful sea slugs of Okinawa.  Check out Dr. Bolland’s Website!

http://rfbolland.com/okislugs/

Nature Therapy – Photo Exhibition by Shawn Miller

The Exhibition will be held at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST)  January 14th through February 29th.  The free photo exhibition is open from 9:00 to 17:00 every day. The exhibition will feature forty inspiring images of underwater animals, crabs with beach trash homes and the endangered species of Okinawa.  Photography By Shawn Miller. The wonderful people at OIST were kind enough to make this exhibition  take place and produce beautiful advertisement posters.

Nature Therapy poster 2016

Nature Therapy Poster 2016 – Shawn Miller

Some of my favorite images are featured below.  I photographed the gallery with a fish eye lens to give it a unique perspective.

Blueberry hermit crab

Blueberry hermit crab – Meet your neighbours project

Surgeon on the move

Surgeon fish on the move – Motion

Crabs with trash homes

Crabs with trash homes – Meet your neighbours project

Kuroiwas ground gecko -Endangered

Kuroiwas ground gecko -Endangered

a Blenny playing Peek a Boo

A Blenny playing Peek a Boo

Typhoon swirl -

Typhoon swirl – The art of motion

Ryukyu black breasted leaf turtle  -endangered

Ryukyu black breasted leaf turtle -endangered

Boxer crab

Boxer crab – Marine life of Okinawa

Okinawa rail

Okinawa rail- endemic to northern Okinawa

Video by Gary Hughes. FrontPageOkinawa – Hughes Media Technologies

http://

More information about Shawn Miller and Nature Therapy - http://www.japanupdate.com/2016/01/oist-hosts-nature-photo-exhibition/

5 Day Black & White Photo Challenge – Okinawa

I was nominated by Martin Bailey to participate in the 5 Day Black & White Challenge. I had to post one black & white Image each day while challenging another photographer to do the same. It was difficult to find subjects that really popped out in B&W. Below are the five images I posted during this challenge. All images were taken underwater on Scuba in the beautiful waters of Okinawa.

Tomato Anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus)

Tomato Anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus)

Ringed plate coral (Pachysersis speciosa)

Ringed plate coral (Pachysersis speciosa)

Ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Razor coral with polyps out

Razor coral with polyps out

Leopard sea cucumber (Bohadschia argus)

Leopard sea cucumber (Bohadschia argus)

All images were photographed with the Canon 70d in an Ikelite underwater housing.

Have a great day!

Hazardous marine life of Okinawa by Shawn Miller

Okinawa offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba-diving in the world. The ocean is filled vast amounts of marine life only found here. With all recreational hobbies there are hazards to be concerned with. Okinawa has a large amount of hazardous marine life and most of it is found in very shallow water.

Safety first or pay the worst

Safety first or pay the worst – Image taken by  Shannon Fox

Ways to avoid injury

  • Be respectful and avoid harassing, touching and feeding marine life
  • Maintain good buoyancy control
  • Recognize warning signs of aggression
  • Avoid wearing shiny jewelry
  • Wear exposure protection- felt bottom booties, gloves, wetsuit or a dive skin.

The Lion fish is beautiful but a very dangerous fish. The spines deliver a painful sting with strong venom injected into the body.

  • First aid: Wash the area with soap and fresh water. Remove foreign material and control any bleeding. Soak limb in hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek immediate medical treatment.
Lion fish ( Pterois volitans)

Lion fish ( Pterois volitans) – AKA fire fish

Most sea urchin injuries are due to people accidentally stepping on them in shallow surf. Wearing proper footwear decreases your chances of getting injured. 

  • First aid: Remove visible spines. Wash with soap and water. Pain control if needed-hot water  (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek medical treatment if spines have entered the joints.
The diadema urchin (Echinothrix diadema)

The Diadema urchin (Echinothrix diadema)

Moray eels deliver a viscous bite with razor sharp teeth. In some cases the eels latch on and do not let go. Avoid placing hands into holes and feeding the eels.

  • First aid: Control the bleeding and seek medical treatment. Monitor for signs of infection
Moray eel (Gymnothorax flavimarginatus )

Moray eel -Gymnothorax flavimarginatus

The crown of thorn starfish has sharp pointed spines that deliver a painful sting. The spines inject venom which cause extreme pain, discomfort and possible nausea.  Most injuries occur because divers are cutting up the starfish with a dive knife and a spine accidentally penetrates the hand. The starfish has a purpose in the ecosystem so leave it alone.

  • First aid: Remove visible spines. Wash with soap and water. Pain control if needed-hot water  (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek medical treatment if spines have entered the joints.
The crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci

The crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci

The blue ringed octopus is one of the most beautiful marine animals. It is only the size of a golf ball, but is extremely venomous if bitten. Avoid picking up this shallow water octopus.

  • First aid: Wash area with soap and fresh water. Apply pressure and limit your movement.  Immediate medical treatment. Monitor ABC’s
Blue Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata)

Blue Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata)

Fire coral are calcareous hydrozoans that deliver a painful sting. Avoid touching or rubbing against it.

  • First aid: Rinse with vinegar. Remove foreign matter. Wash area with salt waterPain control if needed-hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs.Seek medical treatment if infection occurs.
Fire coral ( Millepora sp)

Fire coral ( Millepora sp)

The reef stone fish is the most venomous fish found on Okinawa. It is a true a master of camouflage. The Stone fish resembles a rock blending into the coral reef. The spines deliver a painful sting with strong venom injected into the body

  • First aid: Wash the area with soap and fresh water. Remove foreign material and control any bleeding. Soak limb in hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek immediate medical treatment immediately.
Reef stonefish ( synanceia verrucosa ) Sunabe, Okinawa

Reef stonefish ( synanceia verrucosa )

The reef stonefish buried under the sand!

Reef stonefish ( synanceia verrucosa ) under sand

Reef stonefish ( synanceia verrucosa )  Sand dweller

Cone shells are sought after by many shell collectors for their beauty. The marine snail injects potent venom with a harpoon shaped tooth.

  • First aid: Wash area with soap and fresh water. Apply pressure and limit your movement.  Immediate medical treatment. Monitor ABC’s
Geographic cone (Gastridium geographus

Geographic cone (Gastridium geographus)

The most dangerous cone shells of Okinawa are found in shallow water

Venomous cones shells of Okinawa

Venomous cones shells of Okinawa

The scorpion fish is another master of camouflage. The spines deliver a painful sting with strong venom injected into the body. These fish will usually warn you of their presence by flaring out their fins and spines.

  • First aid: Wash the area with soap and fresh water. Remove foreign material and control any bleeding. Soak limb in hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek immediate medical treatment.
Reef Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis Cirrhosa)

Reef Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis Cirrhosa)

Stinging hydroids (fireweeds) are common in Okinawa. They are all avoidable as long as you do not touch or rub up against any. The hydroids deliver a painful sting .

  • First aid: Rinse with vinegar. Remove foreign matter. Wash area with salt water.  Pain control if needed-hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek medical treatment if infection occurs.
Stinging Hydroid (Aglaophenia cupressina). Also known as Sea Ferns, Fire Hydroid, Fireweed, Feather Hydroid, Stinging Seawee

Stinging Hydroid (Aglaophenia cupressina)

Sea snakes will not harm you unless provoked. I have never heard of any divers being bitten in Okinawa. Rare cases have occurred with fisherman removing their catch from nets and they were bitten on the hand.

  • First aid: Wash area with soap and fresh water. Apply pressure and limit your movement.  Immediate medical treatment. Monitor ABC’s
Turtle head sea snake (Emydocephalus ijimae)

Turtle head sea snake (Emydocephalus ijimae)

The cockatoo waspfish is a venomous fish found in shallow water. It resembles a leaf and blends in with debris very well. The spines deliver a painful sting.

  • First aid: Wash the area with soap and fresh water. Remove foreign material and control any bleeding. Soak limb in hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek immediate medical treatment.
 Cockatoo waspfish (Ablabys taenianotus)

Cockatoo waspfish (Ablabys taenianotus)

The fire urchin is  the most beautiful sea urchin found in Okinawa. Its beautiful colors attract divers to pick it up. The spines inject venom which cause extreme pain and discomfort.

  • First aid: Remove visible spines. Wash with soap and water. Pain control if needed-hot water  (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs.Seek medical treatment if spines have entered the joints.
Fire urchin (Asthenosoma ijimai)

Fire urchin (Asthenosoma ijimai)

The flower urchin is the most venomous sea urchin found in the world. It is a collector urchin, often using rocks or dead coral to cover itself. The pedicellariae inject venom not the spines, which cause extreme pain and discomfort.

  • First aid: Remove foreign matter. Wash with soap and water. Pain control if needed-hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek medical treatment
Flower urchin (Toxopneustes pileolus)

Flower urchin (Toxopneustes pileolus)

The bristle worm is also know as the fire worm. It delivers a powerful sting when threatened. The bristle like spines inject venom which cause extreme pain and discomfort.

  • First aid: Remove bristles using tape. Wash with soap and fresh water. Seek medical treatment if needed. monitor signs of infection
Bristle worm (Chloeis sp)

Bristle worm (Chloeis sp)

The eeltail catfish is a venomous saltwater fish found in shallow water. They usually travel in large numbers at night. The spines deliver a painful sting.

  • First aid: Wash the area with soap and fresh water. Remove foreign material and control any bleeding. Soak limb in hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek immediate medical treatment.
Eeltail catfis  (Plotosus japonicus )

Eeltail catfish (Plotosus japonicus )

Sea anemones deliver a painful sting with venomous tentacles.  Below is a photograph of the viscous predator Dofleinia armata. I had these anemones in my aquarium for three years. During that time I have seen them feeding on lion fish, scorpion fish, and venomous cone snails.

  • First aid: Rinse with vinegar. Remove tentacles with tweezers. Wash area with salt water.  Pain control if needed-hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs.Seek medical treatment if infection occurs.
Sea anenome (Dofleinia armata)

Sea anenome (Dofleinia armata)

Branching anemone

Branching anemone -Motobu ,Okinawa

Branching anemones are found living in the sand. They deliver a nasty sting! I have personally experienced its painful sting.

Branching Anemone

Branching Anemone

 

The false stonefish ( Scorpaenopsis diabolus) is another master of camouflage. The spines deliver a painful sting with strong venom injected into the body. These fish will usually warn you of their presence by flaring out their fins and spines.

  • First aid: Wash the area with soap and fresh water. Remove foreign material and control any bleeding. Soak limb in hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek immediate medical treatment.
False stone fish

False stonefish

Stingrays are found in sandy areas near coral reefs. They have a serrated barb located at the base of the tail.  Keep your distance to avoid any injuries!

  • First aid: Wash the area with soap and fresh water. Control the bleeding. If the barb is lodged in the body, do not remove it. Soak the limb in hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek immediate medical treatment! May require surgery to remove the barb.
Bluespotted stingray (Neotrygon kuhlii)

Bluespotted stingray (Neotrygon kuhlii)

The titan triggerfish is the most aggressive fish I have encountered. It is extremely territorial and will guard its nest aggressively. Attacks can be severe leaving wounds requiring stitches.  On several occasions I have pointed a dive light in their direction and it scared them off. They do not like the directional light for some reason.

  • First aid: Control the bleeding and seek medical treatment. Monitor for signs of infection
Balistoides viridescens, Titan triggerfish

Balistoides viridescens, Titan triggerfish

The bite of a titan trigger fish

Titan trigger fish bite – Photo by Daisuke Uruchida

The coral rabbitfish is a sought after fish in Okinawa. Fisherman and free divers often get injured handling this venomous fish. The spines deliver a painful sting.

  • First aid: Wash the area with soap and fresh water. Remove foreign material and control any bleeding. Soak limb in hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek immediate medical treatment.
Coral Rabbitfish (Siganus corallines)

Coral Rabbitfish (Siganus corallines)

The Box Jellyfish is the most dangerous jellyfish found in the ocean. It delivers an unbearable sting with its venomous tentacles. These stings require immediate treatment and can be life threatening

  • First aid: Rinse with vinegar. Remove tentacles with tweezers. Wash area with salt water. Pain control if needed-hot water (113 F / 45 C) or use hot packs. Seek medical treatment immediately.
Box Jellyfish ( Chironex yamaguchii ) under blue light

Box Jellyfish ( Chironex yamaguchii ) under blue light

Safety first or pay the worst!

Have a great day!

Underwater Macro Photography with an Ikelite housing

I have always enjoyed shooting macro photography ever since I purchased my first camera. Underwater Macro photography is challenging due to currents, buoyancy control and back-scatter in the water. Below are a few underwater images photographed using the Canon 70D with a Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8 USM macro lens. The Camera and lens are enclosed in an Ikelite underwater housing. I am currently using one Ikelite DS-160 strobe along with one Ikelite DS-200 underwater.

Crowned Puffer (Canthigaster coronata) Okinawa, Japan

Crowned Puffer (Canthigaster coronata) Okinawa, Japan

Razor coral - Fungia sp ,Okinawa-Japan

Razor coral – Fungia sp ,Okinawa-Japan

Bio fluorescense underwater

Bio fluorescense underwater (Fungis scutaria) -Okinawa,Japan

Honeycomb coral (Diploastrea heliopora) Okinawa- Japan

Honeycomb coral (Diploastrea heliopora) Okinawa- Japan

Crocea Clam (Tridacna Crocea) Okinawa-Japan

Crocea Clam (Tridacna Crocea) Okinawa-Japan

Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) Okinawa-Japan

Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) Okinawa-Japan

If you are living In Okinawa-Japan and would like to purchase any Ikelite product, I highly recommend Ikelite Military Sales. You can contact them directly on Facebook with the link below. I usually receive my orders within five to seven days. This is very fast shipping living overseas.
If you are having trouble with the initial set up of your underwater system and need assistance contact me.
Stay tuned for more underwater images with the Canon 70d.

Diving and Jiving in Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa has some of the best diving in the world. The Ocean is filled with beautiful coral reefs and vast amounts of marine life only found here. The water is warm and the clarity is outstanding. If you ever get the chance to scuba dive in Okinawa, go for it and do not hesitate. Below are a few of my underwater photographs over the years. All the images were photographed on scuba in the beautiful waters of Okinawa-Japan.

This Lion-fish is one of the many venomous animals in the ocean.

miller

Shortfin Lionfish (Dendrochirus brachypterus) with Lightning eyes .                                                                             Underwater Macro Photography.

Many different marine organisms fluorescence with the proper wavelengths of light.

Okinawa nature photography

Underwater Flourescent Photography -Razor coral

Light rays at Maeda point. this is the most popular diving spot in Okinawa

shawn miller photography

The light gleams through the clear waters of Okinawa.

This is one of the most popular fish to photograph underwater.

shawn miller -okinawa nature photography - ikelite housing

Baby Tomato Anemonefish – Amphiprion frenatus