Gorgeous, almost abstract swirl of rich sea life.
Maldives coral reef, in late 2011. By Fabien Cousteau, via National Geographic.
The coral reefs of the Maldives were first badly damaged in 1998, when shifting ocean patterns associated with El Niño raised sea level temps above 90 degrees. The result then was that 70 to 90 percent of the reefs surrounding the Maldives 26 atolls were badly “bleached,” the warm temperatures killing off the symbiotic algae that lives within the coral and gives it color. While since then many of the reefs have been recovering, according to a report by the Maldives-based Marine Research Center, another warming last year (2010) estimated that “10-15 percent of shallow reef coral is now completely white, while 50-70 percent has begun to pale.”
Just hanging out. Being sneaky.
Frogfish are the masters of camouflage, being able to mold their bodies to mimic sponges and corals. Some specimens even have filamentous patches simulating algal growth.
The frogfish uses its invisibility as a hunting method - a it flickers a small lure above its mouth, attracting prey to the seemingly safe ‘rock’. It is able to swallow prey in as fast as 6 milliseconds.
Rick Colllier on Flickr