Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spinner dolphins and remoras

April, 2010
Here on Maui spinner dolphins sometimes will absolutely go off in their efforts to leap high out of the water, spinning as they go. There have been many theories over the years as to just why these small dolphins spin when they leap, but here is evidence to support at least one theory:
This adult male has two remoras attached to his body, one on the throat area and the other on his left flank. Time and again this particular animal would leap high into the air, spinning violently, only to come down with a resonating thwack and huge splash!
The remoras themselves would change locations on the body of the dolphin, but try as he might he just couldn't shake them.
It must be incredibly irritating for a spinner dolphin to have these fish attached to their sensitive skin, and the effort to dislodge them is sometimes seems to be to no avail.
Incredible heights are obtained so as to maximize re-entry impact, but this male dolphin just couldn't shake these two remoras.
Finally (with the remoras still attached) this individual male, along with the entire pod, continued on its way from Lanai to Maui across the AuAu Channel.
An unexpected (but very welcome) visitor inspects out little inflatable boat in the waters between Lanai and Maui. It is not often I get to see a tiger shark here in such perfect conditions, let alone get to get a close up shot (This image is taken with a 14mm lens, so the shark is only a few feet from the boat)!