Alien 12




ALIEN #12 -This larval Long-Arm Octopus (Macrotritopus defilippi) is moments from completing it’s metamorphosis into an adult – as a matter of fact, it did so just minutes after I took this photo, by settling onto the sea floor! If we’ve had the chance to talk about how I typically create the Aliens Collection images, you might be asking, “if you’re out over the deep abyss, how did you see it settle on the the sea floor?” It’s because while I was shooting in Palau, Micronesia, there was no logistical support for doing that type diving. So instead, at night on the sheer wall drop-offs, while other divers looked at the reef, I took a compass heading out alone into the blackness, and drifted, hunting for my little deep-water freaks. As I drifted with this beauty, the incoming tidal current brought us over the wall and onto a shallow reef where I then observed it touching a solid object for the first time in it’s life. What a moment for the octo, and what a privilege to be there to observe perhaps the most important moment in it’s life thus far! We understand so little about how it transitions, and how it finds a suitable location in which to once and for all, drop out of the plankton layer, and onto the sea floor. But to the best of our understanding, it’s all about chemical cues – it “smells” the right environment, and it finally sinks, to complete it’s transition into an adult in a suitable sandy/muddy reef. Amazing!!