Double sash butterflyfish at Long Beach

More best buddies

I did a post a short while ago with some of my favourite photos of pairs of marine creatures. Some of them are routinely found in large groups – more on that in some other posts – but other times it’s a surprise to encounter more than one individual in an area.

For example, it’s unusual for us to see more than one klipfish together. When we do, they are usually chasing each other (they seem to be quite territorial) or trying to impregnate one another (equally aggressively). These two look as though they’re snuggling together for safety in the hostile vastness of the ocean!

Cuddling klipfish
Cuddling klipfish

Other times, it isn’t that odd to see marine animals of the same type grouped together. Barehead gobies are incredibly common – particularly at Long Beach – and can often be seen having mothers’ meetings together on the sand. Kate thought of them as her friends, watching out for her…

Barehead gobies at Long Beach
Barehead gobies at Long Beach

I’ve posted this next picture (or a variant of it) before, but I think it’s lovely. Pyjama catsharks are nocturnal, and during the day they like to sleep piled on top of one another in sheltered places like gullies and, if available, pipelines and wrecks. Here’s a pile-on at Long Beach that we found early one evening.

Napping pyjama catsharks
Napping pyjama catsharks

There’s a very brief season during spring when crown crabs overrun the sand at Long Beach. They are so well camouflaged that you can swim right over masses of them without noticing. Here are two, back to back. They look like they’re preparing for a duel. Perhaps not best friends, then!

Combative crown crabs
Combative crown crabs

Finally, here’s a pair of gorgeous double-sash butterflyfish at Long Beach under one of the wrecks. They are so tropical-looking I can hardly believe that they are found in the frigid water here! (Notice the barehead goby getting in on the action, to the left of the photo.)

Double sash butterflyfish at Long Beach
Double sash butterflyfish at Long Beach

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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