Anemone-fish of the Ryukyu Islands by Shawn Miller

Have you ever wondered how many species of anemonefish are found in the beautiful waters of Okinawa?  There are six anemonefishes found here. Most are found in shallow water and all live in a venomous sea anemone for protection. Their biggest threats are over-collecting.

(1) Nemo – Is known as the false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris). In my opinion is the most beautiful anemone fish of the Ryukyu Islands.

 false clownfish  (Amphiprion ocellaris)

false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) © Shawn Miller

The false clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) photographed in black & white.

false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) © Shawn Miller

(2) The Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus) is the most abundant anemonefish found here. The juveniles sometimes have multiple white stripes.

 Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus)

Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus) © Shawn Miller

Sometimes the Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus)  can be found in large colonies with over sixty fish living together in multiple sea anemones.

 Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus)

Tomato anemonefish colony © Shawn Miller

The Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus) in black & white.

© Shawn Miller

Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus) © Shawn Miller

 (3) Clark’s anemonefish ( Amphiprion clarkii ) is fairly common as well. A tough anemonefish for sure! 

Clark's anemonefish ( Amphiprion clarkii )

Clark’s anemonefish ( Amphiprion clarkii ) © Shawn Miller

The juveniles are often found in small nursery anemones. Is it possible these baby anemone fish see the fluorescence of the anemone?  I have always wondered how the hatchlings find a small anemone far away for a reef.

Clark's anemonefish ( Amphiprion clarkii ) and fluorescence

Clark’s anemonefish ( Amphiprion clarkii ) and fluorescence © Shawn Miller

 For some strange reason, the Clarks anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii) turns dark black when living in the giant carpet sea anemone.

black Clark's anemonefish ( Amphiprion clarkii )

black Clark’s anemonefish ( Amphiprion clarkii ) © Shawn Miller

(4) The orange anemonefish (Amphiprion sandaracinos) is uncommon here. They all have a white dorsal stripe running from the lip to the tail.

Orange anemonefish (Amphiprion sandaracinos)

Orange anemonefish (Amphiprion sandaracinos) © Shawn Miller

5) The saddle anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus) is scarce here. They are usually found living in a large carpet anemone around white fine sand.

saddle anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus)

saddle anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus) © Shawn Miller

(6) The pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) is fairly common here. They all have a white dorsal stripe running from the eyes to the tail and a narrow white head bar.

pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion)

pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) © Shawn Miller

The pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) in black & white.

pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion)

pink anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) © Shawn Miller

The three-spotted damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus) seeks shelter in sea anemones at the juvenile stage for protection. It leaves the anemone when its ready and never comes back.

The three-spotted damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus) seek shelter in sea anemones at the juvenile stage for protection.

The three-spotted damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus) © Shawn Miller

Okinawa offers some of the best shore diving in the world.  What are you waiting for!

Have a great day!

Patterns, textures and colors ! Underwater Macro Photography by Shawn Miller

Okinawa offers some of the best Scuba-Diving in the world. I really enjoy the Art of Underwater Macro Photography.  Macro subjects can always be found, it just takes some imagination and good framing to create beautiful underwater abstracts.  Pattern’s, textures and vibrant colors generally stand out in underwater photography.

Equipment used 

  • Camera: Canon 70d with Canon 100mm&60mm
  • Housing: Ikelite underwater housing
  • Stobes: Ikelite DS160 & DS 200
  • Modeling lights: Light&Motion Gobe 800, Sola 3800 and Sola 1200
  • Specialized lights: Light&Motion Sola Nightsea

All images were taken in the beautiful waters of the Ryukyu Islands. Underwater Photography by Shawn Miller.

Cushion starfish (Culcita novaeguineae) 100mm

Cushion starfish (Culcita novaeguineae) © Shawn Miller

Coral (Favia sp)

Coral (Favia sp) © Shawn Miller

Deep water coral (Tubastrea micrantha)

Deep water coral (Tubastrea micrantha) © Shawn Miller

Pedum spondyloidum- coral scallop

Pedum spondyloidum- coral scallop © Shawn Miller

Feather star

Feather star © Shawn Miller

Stichopus variegatus sea cucumber- 100mm

(Stichopus variegatus) sea cucumber © Shawn Miller

Sea fan (Annella mollis )

Sea fan (Annella mollis ) © Shawn Miller

Favia sp coral closeup

Favia sp coral closeup © Shawn Miller

Feather duster worm (Sabellastarte sanctijosephi)

Feather duster worm (Sabellastarte sanctijosephi) © Shawn Miller

granulated sea star (Choriaster granulatus)

granulated sea star (Choriaster granulatus) © Shawn Miller

Crocea clam (Tridacna Crocea)

Crocea clam (Tridacna Crocea) © Shawn Miller

(Pachyseris speciosa) Ringed plate coral

(Pachyseris speciosa) Ringed plate coral © Shawn Miller

Razor coral

Razor coral © Shawn Miller

striped triplefin (Helcogramma striata) on coral

Striped triplefin (Helcogramma striata) on coral © Shawn Miller

coral of okinawa

coral of okinawa © Shawn Miller

bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa

Bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) © Shawn Miller

Dive safe and have a great day!


Seashells of Okinawa by Shawn Miller

The beautiful seashells of the Ryukyu Islands.

It all started in 1989,  I went to a friend’s house and saw some beautiful seashells displayed on a counter-top.  My first thought was that they were fake or man-made. The intricate design of the Venus comb Murex shell caught my eye.  I was fascinated by the design and wanted to learn more about the animal that produced this beautiful shell.

Murex spicatus -Venus comb murex

Murex spicatus -Venus comb murex

I continued to collect,  photograph and read more about marine mollusks from the Ryukyu Islands. I eventually started contributing my collection samples to worldwide museums, scientists, specialists and images for various scientific publications. I currently do not collect shells anymore but enjoy photographing the marine snails in their natural habitat.

General rules to shell collecting

  • Be respectful of the environment.
  • Only collect dead specimens
  • Avoid over collecting sea-shells
  • If you turn over rocks, place them back in the original position

Below are some of my favorite shells found on Okinawa.

Semipallium dianae - scallop

Semipallium dianae – scallop

Neocancilla takiisaoi

Neocancilla takiisaoi

Cardium victor - Heart shell

Cardium victor – Heart shell

Lambis scorpius - scorpion conch

Lambis scorpius – scorpion conch

Morum ponderosum

Morum ponderosum

Annachlamys reevei

Annachlamys reevei – MYN technique

Chicoreus ryukyuensis

Chicoreus ryukyuensis -Okinawa, Japan

Cypraea (Blasicrura) luchuana (Kuroda,1960) Okinawa

Cypraea (Blasicrura) luchuana  -  Okinawa, Japan

Gloripallium speciosum

Gloripallium speciosum – sunray scallop

Avoid handling the venomous cone shells.  They are often found reef walking during low tide.

Venomous cones shells of Okinawa

Venomous cones shells of Okinawa

The trident trumpet is sought after for its beauty. This marine snail is one of the few natural predators of the crown of thorn starfish. This large snail also feeds on a variety of starfish as well.

Trident trumpet

Trident trumpet

If you enjoy eating shellfish, the Strawberry conch is the most popular side dish here on Okinawa. They are abundant in our waters and local fisherman discard the shells back into the ocean after consumption.

Strawberry conch shell

Strawberry conch shell

A huge pile of the discarded shells at a local fishing port in Yomitan.

Thousands of sea shells

Thousands of conch shells

Sinezona milleri (Geiger & Sasaki , 2009) – Named for the collector of the type specimens, Shawn Miller of Nagahama, Okinawa, for his continued support in malacological research by providing marine sediment samples of Okinawa.

Sinezona milleri (Geiger & Sasaki , 2009)

Sinezona milleri (Geiger & Sasaki , 2009)

Hemilienardia shawnmilleri.  A new species named after naturalist and underwater photographer Shawn Miller. Described by Shawn Wiedrick.

Hemilienardia shawnmilleri

Hemilienardia shawnmilleri

Have a great day!