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Marvellous Macro in the Red Sea

Aqaba may only have 26 miles of coastline, but the diving is world class. The iconic Cedar Pride is not the only surprise in store beneath the calm waters of the gulf. The Gulf of Aqaba is the narrowest and deepest gulf in the world and the lack of tidal movement and cool up-wellings from depths of up to 1,850m have created a very interesting marine environment that is teeming with life. The coastal habitats include fringing reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves. To date 362 species of fish have been identified along with more than 1,000 invertebrates and 200 soft and hard corals, resulting in some great macro subjects for underwater photographers.

IT’S BEHIND YOU

11 janemorganaqaba11 white banded cleaner shrimp giant moray eel macro photography aqaba

White banded cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) at work on a giant moray eel (Gymnothorax javanicus) 
 

 AT THE CLEANERS

10 janemorganaqaba10 white banded cleaner shrimp red sea fairy basslet macro photography aqaba

Another white banded cleaner shrimp this time helping out a Red Sea fairy basslet (Pseudanthias taeniatus) 

NIGHT DIVE

spider crab and cuttlefish 1 coral cedar pride cuttlefish macro photography aqaba

Left, an Oates’ soft coral spider crab (Hoplophrys oatesii) within the branches of a beautiful soft coral on the mast of the Cedar Pride. Right, this juvenile cuttlefish (Sepiida) is showing aggression by raising its tentacles. The scientific name ‘Sepia’ refers to the ink they use to confuse their enemies

 

OPEN WIDE Yellow mouthed moray Gymnothorax nudivomer showing off its gorgeous yellow mouth 1 macro photography aqaba 

EYE CATCHING

scorpionfish and sun coral 21 flathead macro photography aqaba

Left, flathead scorpionfish (Scorpaenopis oxycephalus) on the seabed. Right, a sun coral (Tubastraea) seen on a night dive. Sun corals extend their tentacles at night to catch zooplankton

THINKING OUT OF THE BOX

01 janemorganaqaba1 yellow box fish macro photography aqaba

The yellow box fish (Ostracion cubicus)  is without a doubt the cutest fish in the ocean. The juveniles are bright yellow but their brightness fades with age

THE EYES HAVE IT

12 janemorganaqaba12 green eyed dancing shrimp macro photography aqaba

A green eyed dancing shrimp (Cinetorhynchus reticulatus) out at night 

SAFE VIEWING

14 janemorganaqaba14 common spider conch macro photography aqaba

A common spider conch (Lambis lambis)  peers out of the safety of his shell

 

15 janemorganaqaba15 goby coral polyp macro photography aqaba

Michel’s host goby (Pleurosicya micheli)  sat on a hard coral polyp 

WHERE’S WALLY

16 janemorganaqaba16 cleaning partner shrimp parrotfish macro photography aqaba

 A Bruun’s cleaning partner shrimp (Urocaridella antonbruuni)  on a parrotfish - clue, look closely above the fish's mouth on the left

 

TOAD FACE red sea toadfish macro photography aqaba

PRECIOUS JEWELS

17 janemorganaqaba17 diamond goby macro photography aqaba

 A beautiful diamond goby (Valenciennea puellaris) on the sandy bottom

INTO THE NIGHT

feather star and spanish dancer aqaba red sea macro photography

Left, a  Red Sea feather star (Oxymetra erinacea) out at night. This feather star is filtering small particles of food with its long feathery arms. Right, a Spanish dancer (Hexabranchus sanguineurs) crawls across the reef on a night dive

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