Sagaminopteron nigropunctatum??

Image courtesy of Brian Mayes
Dive site: Muka Mokupa I, Lembeh Straits
Date: 26/11/2010
Depth: 14.5 metres ( 47.6 ft)
Temp: 29c ( 84f)

Sagaminopteron (maybe) nigropunctatum (Carlson & Hoff, 1973)
or maybe Sagaminopteron 'punct-less' undescribed

Well here is another weekly challenge. We had to bring in the BIG guns for assistance on this one. When I first saw Brian's photo, I hastily ID'd it as Sagaminopteron bilealbum Carlson & Hoff, 1973. Then I thought… hummm, maybe not. S. bilealbum is suppose to be endemic to Guam, so this would be an exceptional find. So thanks to modern technology (which we didn't have this when I was born) I fired off an e-mail to the experts - Clay Carlson and Patty Jo Hoff. Clay's reply is clear and simple -

"...I too have found a couple of these in the Philippine Islands and was hoping we had found S. bilealbum outside of the Guam area. Terry Gosliner and I were thinking we might have found the beast, but the problem is that only S. nigropunctatum has orange on the margin of the crest under the 'head' projection. This beast also does not have the strong orange spotting. My only guess(es) is that it is an 'unpunct' form of S. nigropunctatum or an undescribed form. We keep looking for S. bilealbum in the back yard, but the host sponge has been gone from the reef margin for some time. We really need some fresh material from Guam so that some DNA work can be done..."

Unlike our one of usual BOW's chalk full of unnecessary, miss-used, multi-syllabic, polynomial Anglo-Saxon derivatives, Clay keeps it simple. I love it. Thanks Clay and Patty Jo.

Clay Carlson and Terry Gosliner
Anilao, Philippines
circa late 90's

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Dave Behrens
Gig Harbor, Washington
Feb., 2011

Brian Mayes

Brian is a former finance director, who retired early to spend more time traveling and diving with his lovely wife Jill. He trained to dive in 1990 with the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) where he met and married Jill, his dive buddy and ace spotter. After a few years of dry suit diving in the cold seas around the British Isles, he decided that he had seen enough rusty scrap metal (or wrecks as they are commonly known) and started diving coral reefs. In warm tropical waters Brian soon discovered an interest in the brightly coloured marine life and wanted to find out more about the things he had seen.

In 1993, Brian acquired his first underwater camera, a Nikonos V and began snapping away at anything that didn't move too fast, like nudibranchs and flatworms. Pretty soon Brian was hooked on underwater macro photography and he (well Jill actually) has discovered a few new species and range extensions. However, since no specimens were collected the fame and the glory has so far eluded him. Though Brian's not sure he could kill a few critters just to get his name on it. When digital cameras came along, Brian upgraded to a Nikon Coolpix 990 in Ikelite housing with Ikelite Pro Video-Lite, but he found that this large setup weighing 9Kg was too awkward and heavy. Brian now prefers to use small compact cameras and currently uses a Canon G9 with a couple of Inon macro close-up lens, but no external strobe, only the internal flash and diffuser.

Brian's photos from recent dive trips can be seen here

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From left to right, Terry Gosliner, Angel Valdes, Dave Behrens La Jolla, Calif.

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