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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sea Things #2: White Spotted Toadfish

Sea Things is a regular feature on my blog where I profile a different sea creature. Look for it weekly, or something close to weekly.
From Belize 2008 Underwater (sized)

The White Spotted Toadfish, or Sanopus astrifer, is one of the coolest fish I've seen so far. They are native to Belize and only Belize (well, ok, occasionally in Honduras), so you won't find them in other parts of the Caribbean. They are found in holes in the reef, and usually look just like the photo above - staring out of the entrance of the hole with a disapproving look on their face. They are curious, and can be coaxed to the entrace of the hole if they are deeper inside. Our divemaster in Belize would click a carabiner at the Toadfish and he would move more towards the entrace of the hole to see what was going on.

The craziest thing about White Spotted Toadfish is the noise that they make underwater. It sounds like a chainsaw, and I was convinced that the sound I was hearing in Belize was the sound of the boat circling above. Nope, it was the toadfish, doing a pefect imitation of a Craftsman. The hand signal that divers use is to hold one hand up to the bottom of your chin, fingers down, and wiggle your fingers - an imitation of the cute little beards found on the toadfish. I was excited to have found one before the divemaster did when we were on our trip in Belize! I thought at first that it was a spotted eel, but when I looked closer, I didn't know what it was, then I remembered the dive briefing where toadfish were mentioned.

They're super-cool and totally worth going to Belize to see. I'm hoping that we will be returning to Belize within the next few years, so hopefully Todd will be able to take some more pictures of this really awesome animal.
Is there a creature that you would like to see featured in Sea Things? If so, shoot me an email and if I can, I'll write about it.

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