Sand and Fish that Camouflage
June 29, 2009
The two photos above show underwater frames of the same beach, both were taken at the Big Island of Hawaii. The only difference is that while the frame on the left was taken about 10 ft (3 m) off shore, the frame on the right was taken more than a hundred feet off shore. Notice the differences in the color of the sand: Black lava sand at left and at right; white sand that's composed of coral and shell fragments.
Some fishes have the ability to change their coloration and camouflage against the ocean floor. The frame on the right shows a flowery flounder that has nicely blended with the dark, sandy background; at right, a Hawaiian lizardfish is all but invisible against the white sand. Can you see it? It's nearly impossible to detect it, even with a clue. You can see only its eyes and head (the body is below the sand) Look for it in the lower middle portion of the frame. Photos taken in May of 2009.