Location- Raja Ampat
Story- A pygmy seahorse is quite the special find, not just because of their tiny 5-8mm size, but also because they are masters of camouflage. If I had been just to the left or right or anywhere else but precisely where I was, he would have blended in with the gorgonian coral. Actually, this subspecies of seahorse only lives on this species of coral, and while you see the coral’s polyps are fully extended, looking like little flowers, when they are retracted, they look exactly like the white nodules on the seahorse.
This is a unique subspecies of Hippocampus denise which is only found in a very small region of Raja Ampat, West Papua. As incredibly difficult as Pygmy’s are to find (usually with the aid of local guides) across the South Pacific, they are considered one of the most abused photo subjects on Earth, with careless photographers doing anything for the shot, who often result in the death of the seahorse or it’s coral home. Following an unofficial code of conduct used throughout the South Pacific, I fired only 5 photos, and made no physical contact with anything. An indicator of this is that the coral’s polyps are still in their undisturbed & fully extended position. Just a little “ethics-in-wildlife-photography” trivia that I wish more people cared about.
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