Bonaire: Macro, mostly

©2002 Ken Riddick
Brittle Star and Sponge at Town Pier

A brittle star forages over a sponge on the pilings under Town Pier in Kralendijk, Bonaire.

Divers often see these fragile little star fish on or around sponges. The constant flow of water the sponge creates feeding brings food to the starfish and very few creatures eat sponges because they often produce irritating secretions. So, for animals like the brittle star, they offer a warm bed and a meal.

Brittle stars are much more flexible and mobile than their sea star cousins. Their delicate arms provide the animal its name. If not very careful handling these guys, you wind up -- like you did as a kid chasing lizards -- with nothing but a writhing hairy arm, while the brittle star escapes to re-grow the limb. This particular starfish has lost two.

Although all the guidebooks call Town Pier a "must-do" night dive, we found it somewhat disappointing. Certainly, we encountered fascinating things on our dive but the small area and numbers of divers leave the water muddy and the diver feeling pretty claustrophobic. Still, when in Rome..

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Pictures from other trips:
Roatan | Little Cayman Island | Galapagos | Grand Turk
French Polynesia | Bonaire | Belize | Saba | Exuma Cays

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