reef scene, Batangas [109k]

A pair of Tomato anemonefish hover defensively near their host anemone, shown mostly retracted underneath a large outcropping of rock.  Also shown are two starfish, "Christmas Tree" worms (one yellow and one white, between the blue starfish arms), several "feather stars" (comatulid crinoids-- one prominent yellow specimen is positioned above the red starfish),  and a tiny goby resting on a soft coral (right side).  The purplish and orange patches could be encrusting corals or sponges.

As divers, we often overlook the most fascinating reef creatures.  We tend to focus on distant objects or landscapes, looking for the elusive large animal that we probably won't get close to anyway.  Most of the life on the reef is very small relative to humans, and experience has taught me to spend more of my time scanning the reef for less obvious, more intriguing finds.