Whew! That was a tricky one! After discounting the barnacles and the sea anemone (remember we asked you to ignore the animals stuck to a rock), there doesn’t seem to be much left in the picture. The creature in question in this Challenge was not only tiny but it was amazingly well-camouflaged.
I thought my eyes were deceiving me until Lance verified that he too, had seen a piece of algae swimming. Upon closer observation we discovered that our swimmer was a tiny, bright green fish! Research revealed that it was a Tidepool Sculpin (Oligocottus maculosus). Apparently these little fish are masters of disguise; not only are they small (rarely exceeding 3.5 inches) but they come in a wide range of colors and can change hues rapidly depending on their surroundings. On top of those effective survival traits Sculpins can breath air when out of water and their sharp spines are venomous! Sculpins sound like they are prepared for anything. Which is good because as tidepool residents they live in one of the harshest environments around.
I did not have my big camera with me that day, so my photos don’t do justice to the little bugger. It’s highlighted for you in both the original Challenge photo and in a subsequent one.
Thanks to Alison, Michael, and Karen for taking a stab at it. Though Alison’s guess was in the neighborhood we managed to stump you this time—a rare feat. Looking forward to the next Challenge!