Thursday, May 8, 2014

Will be on Palmyra in 6 weeks

Time is flying by, and it won't be long before I leave for Palmyra.  In the meantime, I needed to get my gills wet so I am ready for swimming in tropical waters.  Last weekend I spend four days diving off Catalina Island.  While the water was cold (63 degrees), I did have reminders of tropical diving.  We saw two pairs of butterflyfish which is a more tropical fish rarely seen this far north.

scythe butterflyfish
Chaetodon falcifer

Even more unusual was the slate pencil urchin we relocated.  We first found it on Isthmus Reef back in November.  The curator for echinoderms at the LA County Museum really wanted us to collect it since there is no official specimen for this species in California.  There is a record of one collected off Avalon in the 1950s, but so far we haven't been able to locate the specimen that was in a private collection.

slate pencil urchin in situ
Eucidaris thouarsii

slate pencil urchin being collected

It was fun to see these "tropical" species, and I am looking forward to seeing many more in June.