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 © Shawn Miller

Phestilla melanobranchis

Phestilla melanobranchis© Shawn Miller

Phyllidia varicosa

Phyllidia varicosa© Shawn Miller

Roboasta gracillis

Roboasta gracillis© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris aureopurpurea

Chromodoris aureopurpurea© Shawn Miller

 

Aldisa albatrossae

Aldisa albatrossae© Shawn Miller

Tritonospsilla alba

Tritonospsilla alba© Shawn Miller

Phyllidia elegans

Phyllidia elegans© Shawn Miller

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Gymnodoris nigrocolor – parasite© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris kuniei

Chromodoris kuniei© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris annae

Chromodoris annae© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris sp

Chromodoris sp -space odyssey© Shawn Miller

Janolus sp

Janolus sp© Shawn Miller

Noumea angstolutea

Noumea angstolutea© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris coi

Chromodoris coi© Shawn Miller

Phyllidia coelestis

Phyllidia coelestis© Shawn Miller

Flabellina rubrolineata

Flabellina rubrolineata© Shawn Miller

Glossodoris cruenta

Glossodoris cruenta© Shawn Miller

Chromodoris annae -Ryukyu flare

Chromodoris annae -Ryukyu flare© Shawn Miller

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

http://rfbolland.com/okislugs/

The Art of Underwater Motion by Shawn Miller

As an underwater photographer there will be a time when you feel all your photographs look similar and you might lose interest for a while. Creating motion in still photographs will definitely give you a new challenge and purpose. The goal is to try to show some type of motion in a still photograph. The photographs emphasize the energy, power and or speed of the subject moving. Dramatic motion images will provide depth and variety to your portfolio.

Try panning or dragging the shutter underwater 

  • Move the camera in sync with the moving subject while the shutter stays open. A slow shutter speed will be necessary to achieve this.
  • Once you understand this technique try adding flash at the end of the exposure to freeze the motion of the subject (Rear curtain sync).
  • Get creative and add a spin the camera
Striped surgeonfish on the move (Rear curtain sync)

Striped surgeonfish on the move (Rear curtain sync)

Anemone fish with a spin ( RCS )

Anemone fish with a spin ( RCS )

Sea whip - feel the flow

Sea whip – feel the flow

Ocean art ( slow shutter with a spin )

Ocean art ( slow shutter with a spin )

Angelfish on the move ( Rear curtain sync )

Angelfish on the move ( Rear curtain sync )

Striped surgeonfish and coral reef (RCS)

Striped surgeonfish and coral reef (RCS)

Indian mackerel feeding

Indian mackerel feeding

Sunset wrasse reef racing ( RSC )

Sunset wrasse reef racing ( RSC )

Ctenochaetus striatus on the move

Ctenochaetus striatus on the move

Coral with a spin -Ie Island

Coral with a spin -Ie Island

Masked bannerfish on the move ( RCS )

Masked bannerfish on the move ( RCS )

Motion sickness (In camera triple exposure)

Motion sickness (In camera triple exposure)

Scuba-diving with a spin (RCS)

Scuba-diving with a spin (RCS)

Hopefully these images will inspire you to try something new underwater!

 

 

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko, Endangered species!

Featured

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko is a beautiful lizard found throughout the Ryukyu Islands. It is currently listed endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species.  This lizard is decreasing in numbers due to poaching, deforestation, and the threat of feral cats. The lizard is high valued in the illegal pet trade market and needs to protected. This is one of my favorite reptiles to photograph on my night adventures in Okinawa.

  • Scientific name: Goniurosaurus kuroiwae
  • Distribution:  Okinawa Islands
  • Habitat:  Leaf littered forests 
  • Diet:  Worms and insects
  • Average Size:  110mm -130mm
Featured- Wildlife As Canon Sees.  National Geographic October 2017

Shawn Miller Featured- Wildlife As Canon Sees. National Geographic October 2017

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko

This is the first ground gecko I photographed in 2010. I found it under a piece of carpet in Onna Village. Illegal dumping is a huge problem in Okinawa.

1st Ground Gecko

1st Ground Gecko

In the daytime they live in caves, crevices and holes in the ground

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko

They come out to feed at night.  

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko

When they feel threatened they will stand up on all fours and try to intimate you with a stare down.

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko

They have some strange looking feet -

 Ryukyu Ground gecko

Ryukyu Ground gecko

When I approached this ground gecko it stayed in place. I found three Mosquitoes sucking the blood right out of it. the first time I observed mosquitoes on a lizard.

Blood suckers

Blood suckers

 

Photographed on white for the Meet your neighbours global biodiversity project. All images are used for conservation awareness and educational purposes.

Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko -MYN

Goniurosaurus kuroiwae orientalis – Ie Island

A wide angle macro perspective .

Ground gecko -WAM

Ground gecko -Wide angle macro

Pay attention to crossing wildlife!

Kuroiwa's ground gecko -endangered

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko -endangered

Kuroiwa's ground gecko

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko top view

 

Let’s protect the beautiful animals of Okinawa!

Have a great day!