Hunting Partners

15-Feb-2015 Back to Image Gallery

Hunting Partners

I followed this blue-ringed octopus as it crawled among the coral rubble of Lembeh Strait hunting for food. Blue-Ringed octopus and their southern cousins, Blue-Lined octopus fascinate me and I seek them out for photography. Partly because their vibrant colour display makes a great image and partly because they are one of the most deadly creatures on the reef. But on this occasion, what really fascinated me was the behaviour of a hunting partner, a Grubfish! As the octopus probed the rubble for its prey, some would seek a quick escape by fleeing only to fall victim to a lightning strike by the grubfish. Clearly the octopus was not getting any benefit from this arrangement and at one point they were so close together I thought the Blue Ring might have struck it. However it chose to ignore or simply tolerate its unwanted hunting companion and they both ambled along searching for more food.

Photo Data: Location: Lembeh Strait, Nth Sulawesi, Indonesia. Genre: Macro with twin strobes. Photo Data: Nikon D800, Nikkor 60mm Lens, Seacam Housing, Dual Seacam Strobes, and Manual Exposure Mode. ISO 100 Exposure f32 @ 1/125th sec. Image by Kevin Deacon.

Photo Hints: To achieve a sharp `in focus’ image of both subjects I chose a very small aperture setting of F32 to ensure the best possible `depth of field’. It was also important to shoot when both subjects were at similar distances from my lens as even F32 has limited `depth of field’ on a macro lens.

Interesting Facts: There are at least 10 species of Blue-ringed octopus. The East coast of Australia is the habitat of at least three species of this octopus. Tropical species of Blue- Ringed octopus occur in Queensland, a temperate water species occurs in South Australia, whereas NSW has the Blue-Lined Octopus. All are capable of causing death via a poisonous bite that causes paralysis of the voluntary muscles and suffocation due to lack of oxygen. If resuscitation is provided over an extended period it’s possible the victim might survive. As these creatures are not aggressive bites have only occurred when the animal has been handled. Common name. Blue-Ringed Octopus. Latin name. Hapalochlaena sp. Common name. Grubfish. Latin name. Parapercis sp.

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