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One Great Shot: Discoveries in the Drink

One person’s trash can be a fish’s treasure.

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by Shane Gross

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yellow pygmy goby in the mouth of a beer bottle on the ocean floor

While I was slowly finning along an unremarkable section of black sand near Anilao, in the Philippines, I spotted a green beer bottle and knew to go in for a closer look. Anilao is world renowned for muck diving—a type of diving that takes place along a sandy or silty seabed. Muck diving sites aren’t immediately attractive (so not a coral reef or a shipwreck) and are often littered with human trash, but are nonetheless home to some weird and wonderful creatures. Any structure on the barren seabed can house something interesting.

When I peered inside the bottle, a yellow pygmy goby stared back, its emerald green eyes a perfect match for its trash turned home. Gobies are often found in abandoned bottles—they form mating pairs and lay their eggs inside the artificial lairs. This fish was solo though. It seemed unfazed by my presence, sometimes diving deeper into the bottle and sometimes coming back to the edge.

I had a mixed feeling about finding this goby. Like most divers, I would rather not see any trash in the ocean, but it also gives me hope that nature is sometimes capable of adapting to our carelessness.

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Cite this Article:

Cite this Article: Shane Gross “One Great Shot: Discoveries in the Drink,” Hakai Magazine, Sep 13, 2021, accessed July 12th, 2024, https://hakaimagazine.com/videos-visuals/one-great-shot-discoveries-in-the-drink/.


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