Where has all the RED gone?

June, 2002


The photograph on the right was taken on our latest dive at the Daymaniat Islands, off the northern coast of Oman, at a depth of about 12m. The appearance and description seem to match those of a species tentatively identified as Macrodactyla doreensis in Coral Animals of the Indo-Pacific.

The puzzling thing is, the colour of the anemone as we saw it in the water was like that in the recreated image on the left. Normally one would expect the red colour absorbed by sea water to be added back by the camera strobe. In this instance the opposite seems to have happened. We had the same experience once before with a different anemone photographed near the Farasan Islands in the southern Red Sea. What could be responsible for a red colour that is detected by our eyes but not detected by the camera?

We have sent the photographs to various experts and will post any explanations we receive.

In the mean time, if you have any ideas, please let me know through our guestbook.