The small yellow frogfish was no longer present in the same area it had been and for the last week or so, I would visit the reef hoping to see it again. Today, 8-15-09, while headed for that section of the reef and not too far from it, I spied a larger yellow frogfish.
Watching from the surface, I saw a school of keiki parrot fish crowd in on the coral where this guy was perched and I was able to get the shot above as I dove down and just prior to spooking the fish away. Also from the surface, there was a small Zebra Moray Eel that would venture out part way from the reef but every time I dove down, it would pull back into the reef and shadows. In the image below, you can see both the frogfish and the snout of the eel (if you know where to look).
Zoomed in and with some light adjustment, the frogfish at the top and eel at the bottom of the image:
This guy is starting to show some alternate color and dark blotches. I assume as it grows further, it will become more camouflaged and less evident on the reef.
This frogfish was in the same coral colony the next day when I first checked and then moved off to an adjacent colony later when I checked. It was moving around on the coral so I dove down to see if it would be game for hand visit.
It ultimately "moon jumped" off my hand and sauntered back to where it had been prior to my visit.
Next day (8-17-09) the frogfish was back on the same coral colony where I first sighted it. I am quite fond of these goofy guys so I dove down for another visit.
Apparently the adults can take on the colors and "look" of an area they choose as home.
On the next day, some friends and my wife swam out with me in hopes of seeing this frogfish. It took some searching which is really fun in itself and I spotted it:
The purlpe coral made for a good identifyer at the surface to help zero in on the frogfish. There was some strong current sweeping us south and at one point I had drifted about 15' south of this frogfish and while looking down to get my bearing, I noticed a small frog fish!
I suspect this is the same fish I had been photographing a few weeks ago and had ultimately "lost" it. Upon viewing the reef from above, I realised that this smaller frogfish was only about 15' - 20' from where I had originally seen it and the larger frogfish was only about 15'-20' further north of this one. I came up with a personal challenge (can't say why) of attempting to free dive down to one, photograph it and then swim over to the other and get a shot of it before returning to the surface.
First the big guy and then with the current aiding me, a quick swim/drift down to the little guy and then back to the surface. The shot of the little guy was taken while I was in motion and the poor focus indicates this.
Swimming on the surface back towards the large frogfish, a zebra eel suddenly swam out from the reef and I dove down quickly to try to get a shot before it disappeared again.
This may well be the same zebra I saw below the large frogfish the other day.
Many of these fish are teritorial and it is exciting to visit the reef with hopes of finding them "home". In other portions of the Maui2009 web group there are shots of a Dragon Eel and a couple Leaf Scorpion fish that can often be found in the same exact place.