Image of the sea spider seen during the dive on July 11.

Image of the sea spider seen during the dive on July 11. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, INDEX-SATAL 2010. Download larger version (jpg, 2.5 MB).

Dive 11: Sea Spider
July 11, 2010

The crew launch the ROV for Dive 11 at 2º 51.76'N 125º 02.06’E around 0815. The ROV descended to a volcanic cone shaped seamount hoping to find new vents and their associated critters. Instead we were astonished by the diversity of corals, sponges, crinoids, and countless fascinating invertebrates. Personnel were immediately struck by the incredible diversity of colors and species on display as we rose up along the steep WSW slope toward the summit. Some of the organisms imaged included a 30cm wide, 20cm tall sea spider (pycnogonid) whose bright orange spindly legs and specially modified arms were quite a sight to see; a colorful octopus who danced around frantically in search of a place to hide; a large flat fish with big protruding eyes; a striped crinoid; and a wide array of fish of different types and colors including one species that had little feeler fins beneath its pectoral fins. We also saw some large white venus flytrap anemones, many colorful corals of many different species and morphologies, a huge brittle star filter feeding on a rock, large tubular sponges with striped fish feeding inside them, and fluorescent blue mucous nets that stretched up to a meter long from rock to rock. Overall this site appears to contain greatest diversity of any we have seen to date during this Expedition.