Saturday, June 11, 2016

Oh, those eyebrows!

Gunnels are panicky fish. When I turn over their rocky roof, they flip and twist and flip some more, squirming and twisting until they find a hiding place. But no crack is deep enough; my shadow moves, and they fly into a new frenzy, splashing and stirring sludge, making a slurry dense enough to disappear into. They hope.

No wonder herons stand so perfectly still for so long!

This big saddleback gunnel couldn't find a good spot.

Saddleback gunnel, Pholis ornata. Unless he's a Crescent gunnel, P. laeta. They're almost identical.

The pattern along the spine is either saddles or crescents, but which? Both saddlebacks and crescentbacks may have the line from the eye down to the chin, and the pretty orange pectoral fins. They live on the same beaches, sometimes sharing a rocky hideout.

"You can't see me; I'm under a shiny spot on the water."

The shiny spot proved useless; now he's hiding under a black prickleback. The tail looks like a leaf.

And look at those eyes!

Dotted line eyebrows. And from this angle, the clear jelly part of the eye is a brilliant orange.

I took a couple of photos of the black prickleback, and carefully rebuilt the roof of their hideout. The tide came in and covered them. They live to panic another day.

50th parallel, again.

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