Purple Lips and Elephant Ears

Posted in Under the Sea on March 17th, 2009 by MadDog
No Gravatar

On Friday afternoon, we went out to Pig Island  and dived at Barracuda Point. The water on top was very cloudy, so we headed deep to see what we could see. At about 40m we saw one lonely Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus)  resting on the bottom. It was quite dark, so I had to make the shot monochrome to be able to use it:

Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus)On the way back up, we saw this unusually bright colouration of an Elephant Ear Sponge (Ianthella basta).  They come in several different colours, red, green, purple, blue and this brilliant yellow. Im not sure what an elephant’s ear feels like, but these feel like one of those scratcher pads that you clean your post with. This one was about a metre long:

Elephant Ear Sponge (Ianthella basta)
The Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum)  is one of the more difficult of the larger species to photograph. They are usually very shy and manage to keep just beyond camera range. I chased this one for about 50 metres before he slowed down enough and turned a little so I could get a shot at him. They are ridiculous looking creatures. God must have a rich sense of humour:

Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum)

Carol spotted this unusual Adhesive Anemone (Cryptodendrum adhaesivum).  It’s not visually spectacular, but it is spectacularly sticky. This one had a small shrimp in it, but my camera was acting up and I couldn’t use any of the controls. That’s why there are no macro shots in this post. Someone should investigate this anemone to see how it makes its glue:

Adhesive Anemone (Cryptodendrum adhaesivum)

It is surprisingly rare to find a nice empty shell. I suppose that many people think that they are lying around all over the place. I find maybe one or two a year. When I spotted this one, I thought it must be inhabited by the original snail, because it was pristinely shiny. The shells of newly dead snails encrust quickly and lose their shine. That is because the creature’s mantle no longer covers it and protects its sheen.

Carol Dover

We never take shells that are occupied, either by their original inhabitant or some opportunistic squatter such as a hermit crab. If something is living in it, we leave it where we find it.

Here is a little gallery of the Purple Mouthed Cowrie (Cypraea  carneola)  so that you can see how pretty it is:

Carol will be leaving us soon, so I’m encouraging her to goof off as often as possible. She is doing a fine job.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,