Underwater, some of the smallest things are the most fascinating. Gobies and blennies are two very large families of small fishes, and I love photographing them. I caught this pretty blenny in his home burrow in Kume-jima, Okinawa prefecture, Japan. Blennies very often have such little shelters; they hide in reef crevices, but I have also seen them take refuge in discarded beer bottles or cracks of jetty’s pylons.
Gobies are less likely to hide in a hole with their head sticking out like that. Also, when resting on a surface, blennies curve their bodies, while gobies keep them straightened out. And only blennies have these cute little horns, like the one in the picture. I was quite excited to get a good shot of it during the last few minutes of that dive back in 2008, right under the waiting dive boat.
Kume-jima is a few hours by boat away from mainland Okinawa, and definitely worth visiting if you are in the area. On land, it’s agricultural and pleasantly backwards with no urbanization but nice izakayas (Japanese restaurant-pubs), under water it shines with nice drop-offs, healthy hard corals and fascinating little stuff, like this blenny.