Elephant’s ear

I am particularly fond of any plant that comes with a little tag nearby to identify it. It makes life so much easier.

This is elephant’s ear (Alocasia Macrorrhiza), also known as giant taro. In Hawaii it is known as ‘Ape. I saw this at the Hawaiian Native Plant Garden at Kohanaiki Beach Park, just north of Kailua Kona.

Native to rainforests in Borneo and Australia, elephant’s ear spread to parts of Asia and the South Pacific. It was brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians who first settled the islands, and because of this, it is known here as a canoe plant, a plant brought in the first canoes. The plant is a source of starch from the corms. The leaves and stems of taro plants can also be eaten, but giant taro causes irritation because of calcium oxalate crystals in the sap.

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Pinktail triggerfish

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Think Pink.’ See more responses here.

I chose this pinktail triggerfish, not just for its tail, but for the pink around the mouth and the strong colors and lines of the rest of it.

Mourning gecko on a Christmas light

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Photo Edits.’ See more responses here. The main photo edits I do are cropping and adjusting color and lighting, and these photos show the path to the final version (above).

My aim was to get a photo of a baby mourning gecko that was hanging onto a Christmas light, mostly for the warmth I suspect. The light was indifferent and I didn’t want to spook the gecko.

The original (bottom photo) is fairly blah with washed-out color and too much distraction around the gecko. In my first fix (below) I cropped the photo to get the focus on the gecko and light. I also did some adjustments to light and color. I like it better, but it still wasn’t working for me, so I set the photo aside.

When this challenge came up, I thought of this photo and had another go. I cropped the photo tighter still to fill the frame. Then I worked on the color and lighting. The result is an image with more ‘pop,’ much closer to what I was looking for. That’s a Christmas light and a thumbtack holding the wire in place, so these are little things, including the baby gecko, but they jump out of the photo. Also, the various lighting effects surrounding the Christmas light come to the fore, which I like.

Ironically, the first photo I thought of for this challenge was a fish, which I thought I must have cropped quite a bit to get the final image, but when I checked the original image I found I’d done virtually nothing to it. I’m posting that photo tomorrow in response to the next Sunday Stills challenge.

Also posted in response to this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #66: Filling the Frame.

Honoka’ope Bay

Honoka’ope Bay, located in Mauna Lani Resort, is also known as Black Sand Beach though, as this photo shows, the sand is not particularly black. It is, however, a protected bay with decent snorkeling much of the time. And regardless of the color of the sand, it’s a splendid spot to hang out and quietly broil in the sun.

Euconocephalus nasutus conehead

This cone-headed katydid is another introduced species, though Hawaii does have a native banza conehead, which I have yet to see. These coneheads are a big contributor to the nighttime insect buzz.

Abstracts: Whirlpool

I watched this little whirlpool come and go in a tide pool, its state varying with the influx of water from the ocean. Sometimes it disappeared altogether, but usually returned.

What first drew my attention was not the whirlpool itself, but the shadow on the floor of the tide pool, which varied from fairly circular to heart-shaped.

Purple cauliflower coral

Back in the fall of 2014, Hawaiian waters experienced temperatures up to 86°F. This very warm water resulted in a major coral bleaching event statewide. Since that time, water temperatures have been in a more normal range and the coral has stabilized and even shown signs of recovery in places.

In August of this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a warning that another major bleaching event was likely to happen this fall. Last month, NOAA reported that bleaching was already occurring. And I’ve noticed that the water does seem warmer, sometimes disturbingly so.

Because of the bleaching threat, I’ve been looking at the coral when I go snorkeling. There are a few very white patches, but by and large it doesn’t look too bad. This patch of purple coral still looked quite healthy and was host to a saddle wrasse (at right) and three unidentified fish (above).

Achaea janata moth

Also known as the castor-oil moth, castor-oil looper, and croton caterpillar, the achaea janata moth is most easily distinguished by the bold black and white markings on its hind wings.

The caterpillars feed on castor-oil plants and on crotons as well as the leaves of bananas, capsicum, and citrus. This moth was in an area with a fair number of castor-oil plants growing wild.