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Help with ID and no picture :-/

Discussion in 'Name that Critter' started by uncfnp, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
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    You guys probably already think I am crazy and this will only confirm it.

    Shore diving Bonaire, headed back in and in maybe 7 to 10 foot depth, sandy bottom. I spotted a small snake eel. Tried to signal Eric (he has the camera) No luck and now I lost the eel. Looking for it I came across what looked like a sand covered item. I fanned some of the sand off and now it looks like a very large ladies ribbed hair scrunchie. Maybe 3 inches across, tan and white. I go to pick it up and it retracts into the sand. Now I think I am hallucinating and I touch it. Sure enough it has a firm gel consistency and it retracts futher. At this point it is probably 2 to 3 inches below the level of the sand.

    I know its a long shot but unless I was narced at 7 feet deep this was a sea creature and I am clueless to where I should even start to look.
     
  2. T.C.

    T.C. Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ft. Hood, TX
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    A sea cucumber?

    My vote is that you were narc’ed and read your gauge upside down. :)

    As to where to start to look to identify it, I suggest you rule out the birds and mammals ID books. By ruling out major phyla of animals, you can start narrowing it down. :) :) :)
     
  3. giffenk

    giffenk Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: toronto
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    Google for beaded sea cucumber and check out the array of various images. I have only even seen one and it was very strange. I am unsure if they hide by burrowing in the sand as the one I saw was at night and it was hanging from some wreck.
     
    Hoyden likes this.
  4. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
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    Sea cucumbers are actually a good guess but it would have to be buried length down into the sand with just one end protuding out of the sand.
     
  5. Ricardo V.

    Ricardo V. Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Palm City, FL
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    Was it iridescent? I’m thinking you may have seen a Sand Stricker aka Bobbit Worm. They live in sandy bottoms, hunt usually at night, but will do some hunting during the day. I have seen them in Bonaire, in shallow waters; however, not in silty fine sands like the ones at the Invisibles or Tori where the Eaglerays feed, but more like the coarse granular Sandy bottoms you find at the Cliff, Bari, or Oil Slick.

    It could have been a Tigertail Sea Cucumber. They normally don’t move fast, but sometime can retract in no time. These are relatively common in Bonaire. The challenge here is that these creatures normally don’t live in open sandy areas, but tucked away under a coral head, at the edge where sand meets reef.

    Cheers,

    Ricardo
     
  6. giffenk

    giffenk Great White

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    The Sand Striker is Indo-Pacific Bobbit Worm - Eunice Aphroditois, The King of Polychaete Marine Worms

    Maybe it has a Caribbean cousin since it is related to Fireworms.
     
  7. giffenk

    giffenk Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
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    Humann's book does have a Long Bristle Eunice in it, but I am confused since I googled "woman's hair scrunchy" and now have no idea what the OP saw.

    My other thought was a Medusa Worm that had not yet extended any tentacles, but I do not know if they like sand. Be careful if you google Medusa Worm since the aquarium pet people keep showing pictures of a type of sea cucumber and not a spaghetti worm.
    Medusa Worm - Loimia medusa - Spaghetti Worms - - Tropical Reefs
     
  8. Ricardo V.

    Ricardo V. Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Palm City, FL
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    @giffenk. It’s probably a cousin of sorts as you mention, I’ve seen them in Bonaire and while I’m usually lugging a camera with me, I haven’t been able to photograph one there. They are shy and reclusive. Of course, that’s part of the fun, keep returning and enjoying the challenge of spotting unusual critters, or at least unusually spotted during an average dive.

    The ones I’ve seen in Bonaire look very similar to the ones we have at the Blue Heron bridge in Palm Beach County. Perhaps they are a bit smaller or shorter, but they inhabit Sandy bottoms and spring up when hunting.

    Here is a photo of one I took back in 2012 at the bridge. It’s an unusual critter. This one was hunting for food, and it was during daylight. Depth was less than 5 feet.

    Cheers,
    Ricardo

    DBB1C398-D04B-4CF3-B852-2719E2B07F16.jpeg
     
  9. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Like this? Human and Deloach Creature book p42. Elegant anemone.
    upload_2018-7-1_12-51-24.png
     
  10. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
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    OMG, That absolutely could be it. By far the closest thing I’ve found.

    Ricardo V. It was in the fine sand of Invisibles.
     

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