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

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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/

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, Threatened species!

Kuroiwa’s Ground Gecko is an endangered species found throughout Okinawa. 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 my favorite reptile to photograph on my night adventures in Okinawa.

  • Scientific name: Goniurosaurus kuroiwae
  • Distribution:  Okinawajima
  • Habitat:  Leaf littered forests 
  • Diet:  Worms and insects
  • Average Size:  110mm -130mm
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

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

We found this juvenile ground gecko in the Yanbaru forest in Northern Okinawa.

Juvenile Ground gecko

Juvenile Ground gecko

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

Let’s protect the beautiful animals of Okinawa!

Have a great day!