Recently someone asked us, "How come there are hardly any pictures of Bobbie on The Right Blue?" The answer to that question is that I've always been the one behind the camera instead of in front of it. As a result, we have very few underwater photos of me.
Ever since we began The Right Blue, Jerry has been going through the thousands of slides we had stashed away, methodically looking for the ones that have a story. Several days ago he came across the one at right. Fortunately it was filed away along with the one below. Jerry scanned them both and passed the images to me to write about.
The first photo was taken by a dive guide and given to me as a souvenir of a trip we made to the Turks and Caicos islands. That's me, stalking my prey -- sneaking up on an interesting photo subject.
The second image is the photo I snapped a few moments later. I had followed this pair of critters around the sand flat for nearly ten minutes before they lined up just right for me to take the shot. I've mentioned in earlier posts that I really love to take pictures of critters' faces and especially their eyes. My next favorite theme after faces and eyes is behavior.
The dark colored fish in the photo is a Bar Jack (Caranx ruber). This fish makes its living as an opportunistic feeder, so it is swimming along a little above and behind a Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana) hoping to snag a free lunch.
The stingray rummages in the sand looking for little creatures to eat -- worms, small clams, tiny crabs, and such. To locate its prey, it fans away the top layer the sand by fluttering its wingtips.
The crafty Bar Jack follows closely, letting the stingray do the excavating. If the stingray uncovers something that looks tasty to the Bar Jack, the jack will snatch it in a lightning strike, then resume its position keeping watch over the stingray's shoulder, as it were.
We've seen Bar Jacks throughout the Caribbean. In addition to pairing with hunting stingrays, we've also seen them following goatfish -- another species that digs around in the sand and rubble for food.
By the way, the Bar Jack doesn't always look so dark. When it's not feeding, it is a handsome silvery blue color, with a black bar running along its back from its dorsal fin down to the lower lobe of its tail fin like a racing stripe.