Some Crustaceans from Belize

I recently (if April still counts as recently) had the amazing opportunity to work at the Smithsonian’s Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program’s field station in Carrie Bow Cay, Belize. While there studying the amazing Decapod Crustacean fauna on and around the island, I also had the chance to snap a few photos:

Speckled snapping shrimp, Synalpheus ftizmuelleri

Speckled snapping shrimp, Synalpheus ftizmuelleri

Emerald crab, Mithraculus sp.

Emerald crab, Mithraculus sp.

Miers' banded snapping shrimp, Alpheus paracrinitus

Miers’ banded snapping shrimp, Alpheus paracrinitus

You may notice an emphasis on the family Alpheidae (the snapping shrimp), and that has to do with the nature of my trip. I was there collecting data for my doctoral dissertation, which is still in its early stages but will involve these amazing and diverse creatures. As with many marine organisms, they exhibit incredible diversity in and around coral reefs.

Dotted snapping shrimp, Alpheus cristulifrons

Dotted snapping shrimp, Alpheus cristulifrons

Common anemone snapping shrimp, Alpheus armatus

Common anemone snapping shrimp, Alpheus armatus

Striped snapping shrimp, Alpheus formosus

Striped snapping shrimp, Alpheus formosus

I ran into a few photography challenges. Firstly, the batteries for my flash unit (both remotes and the controller) died on my second of eight days there, meaning that most of my photos were lit by sunlight. Secondly, soon after arriving I got a nasty sunburn which crippled me for most of the trip with pain and nausea. I wasn’t going to give up so easily on Arthropod photo opportunities, however, and feel that some of these photos ended up respectably despite some of the setbacks.

Banded snapping shrimp, Alpheus armillatus

Banded snapping shrimp, Alpheus armillatus

Bluntclaw snapping shrimp, Alpheus amblyonyx

Bluntclaw snapping shrimp, Alpheus amblyonyx

These photos are only a small number of the Decapod species I photographed so I look forward to posting some more soon after I go through them.

I look forward to finally starting this blog, a planned project for several years for me now. I hope to document some of my previous encounters as well as update on future ones involving the primary focus of my life and career: Arthropods.

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