Giant Sea Bass at Hermosa Artificial Reef

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Posted by Merry on December 24, 2016 at 13:25:00:

Phil and I try to dive Hermosa Artificial Reef as often as possible in order to photograph & document the appearance of individual Giant Sea Bass. So far, we've positively identified two GSB that have frequented the same site continuously for more than a year.

Full-on side shots are boring for a dive report, but critical with regard to identification. We want to get close enough and expose the shot sufficiently well that we can reliably distinguish their individual characteristics. GSB are fairly tolerant of an inch-by-inch approach, so we can usually get a shot of one side or the other. But images of them can be difficult to interpret for two reasons. For one thing, GSB can lighten or darken their background significantly at will. Making positive identification even more challenging, their pattern of spots is different on the left side from that on the right side.

It's always a little mind-blowing to see these magnificent fish. You never know when one will sneak up from behind to check you out. I often just like to stay still and watch, absorbing their presence.

Phil and GSB
 photo 1. Phil facing GSB_DSC7145_zpsgl5cmrnf.jpg

 photo 2. GSB big silver dorsal fin close_DSC7158_zpsqyr542zg.jpg

 photo 3. Phil amp GSB_DSC7142_zpscvjb8rjs.jpg

 photo 4. GSB big silver_DSC7155_zps6a9doz2l.jpg

 photo 5. GSB scratch above lip_DSC7151_zps84obqk7s.jpg

 photo 6. Phil behind GSB 64_DSC7153_zpsgmoh3wt8.jpg

 photo 8. Scorpionfish_DSC7166_zpskz49wiol.jpg

 photo 9. anemone2_DSC5770_zpsxrpzungn.jpg

 photo 10. Treefish_DSC5767_zpsgguwgpjm.jpg

A gravid treefish
 photo 11.1 Gravid treefish_DSC7317_zpsbfiq23fg.jpg

 photo 11. Two Serpulids _DSC7208_zpszdysndvz.jpg

 photo 12. Aeolidiella olivae_DSC5818_zpsz6qtf5nt.jpg

Phil found this tiny (new-to-us, & uncommon locally) Abronica abronia, formerly Cuthona abronia
 photo 13. Abronica abronia_DSC7226_zps10sfwatq.jpg

Hermissenda opalescens on a brown seascape, reflecting the unhealthy invertebrate substrate (I think).
 photo 14. Hermissenda opalescens_DSC7206_zpsyv3f7ppc.jpg

Ditto this Triopha catalina. Brown almost everywhere!
 photo 15. Triopha catalina_DSC7217_zpspsguppdh.jpg

Polycera tricolor mating.
 photo 16. Polycera tricolor mating_DSC7241_zpsxoklp33m.jpg

Salmacina tribranchiata and sponge.
 photo 17. Sponge amp Salmacina_DSC7188_zpsumtyn8lm.jpg

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