I'm taking a Florida Master Naturalist course through the University of Florida extension and program and this morning we went seining on Lover's Key State Park on Fort Myers Beach. The seine is a net stretched between two posts and kept afloat at the top with small orange buoys.
Below - Chris and Jessie pull the seine through the salt water as the tide goes out, collecting whatever may be swimming, floating or crawling in the area. The diversity of critters we captured is impressive. People swim here. People play here. And fantastic animals live here.
The first species in a series of critters caught (and released) that I will post is the Puffer Fish. When alarmed, endangered and/or threatened by consumption, the Puffer will inflate itself, in turn alarming predators and suggesting that they may not make a great meal.
Below - the Puffer floats in a collection bin. It's about six inches long.
When our instructor inadvertently tickled the fish's peduncle (tail fin), it quickly inflated and remained that way for several minutes. Below - the fish bobs upside down.
When under water they fill their elastic stomach with water. When brought above the waves they can fill with air like the one pictured. You wouldn't want to eat one anyway. Some Puffer species can produce a neurotoxin that is poisonous to predators and humans.
Notice the eye? Click the photo to enlarge it. They can change the color and intensity of their eyes when necessary.
Beautiful fish under the sea - and you probably didn't know they were there.