A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I might not be sharing photographs of spider web threads for a while (see "Shifting sun" post from 31 July 2017). However, I searched a different spot in the backyard this morning and I found a nice orb web with the sun hitting it just right in a few places.
I continue to puzzle over these dramatic colors. And I've been wondering — as the angle of the sun shifts with the seasons, will the colors in the spider web strands change?
It was hard to choose among the many photos from the E/V Nautilus dive at Bodega Canyon yesterday (11 August 2017). Here are a few of our favorite screenshots. [Click on the images for larger versions.]
Crinoid, or feather star, probably Florometra serratissima
Deep-sea nudibranch, Tritonia tetraquetra
Although Tritonia seems to have been the most common nudibranch species observed on these dives, a few other species have appeared.
Finding the nudibranch in the next image is harder. The ROV was focused on the primnoid coral (see white branches at right side of photo) covered by beige and yellow zoanthids (the dominant animals in the image). But look for the small white nudibranch in the upper left corner!
[In case you're wondering, zoanthids are
cnidarians with features similar to corals and anemones, but they don't
have hard skeletons and their tentacle arrangement is different from
The views of deep-sea bamboo corals were spectacular:
Bamboo corals are in the family Isididae. I'm just learning about these corals, but I think the individuals pictured here might be in the genus Keratoisis. Although bamboo corals are named after their beautiful skeletons with a banding pattern similar to bamboos, it was fun to see these living corals, with their dense peach-colored polyps:
The next coral species is Isidella tentacula. The "tentacula" part of the name comes from their distinctive 'sweeper tentacles.' Look for them at the base of coral:
Here's a close-up of the sweeper tentacles near the holdfast of the coral (see below). It's thought that these tentacles are defensive, containing concentrations of stinging nematocysts.
Many thanks again to the E/V Nautilus crew for sharing these wonderful deep-sea communities with us. It's been a gift to join you in exploring Bodega Canyon!
P.S. We hope you get in at least one more dive before you head north. And if you happen to see this post, we'd love a few more close-up views of a stalked crinoid (sea lily). :)