The camouflage is really good. And it’s part of the fish. It’s not something that was added or some fungus growing on the fish’s skin. I think about how animals adapt and evolve and nature is really amazing. It’s so easy to overlook another non-descript piece of coral.
But once you see it, it’s the eye you notice, then the body and fins. If you’re lucky you will see the mouth open slightly. The eye is just a black round spot for the pupil. It seems that they don’t blink. I’m pretty consistent with taking pictures where the human subject blinked. It was uncanny how my dog Nellie would be caught mid-blink every time I used a flash… really, just about every time.
This one was lying among the rocks at an angle so well that it was a miracle that one of buddies noticed it. You can see the outline of the mouth pointed in a frown. And you see two spots for eyes but that’s not where the eyes really are located. If you are unwary in shallow water you could easily step on this rock and get a very rude surprise. In a profile view it is easier to pick out the outlines of a fish. As I sit and look on the computer monitor it’s easy to pick out the eye. Without this recognition it’s hard to confirm this is a fish.
And then there was the dive where we found one under a ledge. We happened to swim back the same way and found not one, but two stonefish together. I didn’t know they hung out together… maybe for mating. As dangerous as they are, I’m not sure I’d be hanging with another stonefish.