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Interesting Species

Shallow Trail

Giant Clams

giant clam

The mantle of a Giant Clam is sensitive to light and retracts when divers swim over it. Giant Clams have a row of eyespots along the edge of the mantle to detect potential danger. When they sense danger, they withdraw into their shells for protection. Giant Clams obtain food from algae that live within them and filter the seawater for plankton.

 

Hard Corals

boulder coral

fungia coral

plate coral

Hard Corals have hard calcium carbonate skeletons and come in many different shapes and forms, each adapted to specific environments:

  • Boulder Corals are robust and form the framework of coral reefs. They are able to withstand strong energy forces like wave action and currents.
  • Mushroom Corals are free living individuals or colonies and can be moved passively by the action of waves or currents.
  • Plate or Foliaceous Corals are usually thin and fragile, and can cover large areas on our reefs. Their form allows them to harvest light efficiently, and is thus able to grow at deeper depths along the reef slope than the other growth forms.

 

Sea anemones and clownfish

anemone fish

Sea anemones feed on plankton and other suspended particles which are caught using specialised stinking cells on their tentacles. Clownfish live among sea anemone, and feed on the plankton and algae growing around the organism.

 

Schooling fish

fishes

Fish swim in groups (known as schools) for safety. A moving "cloud" of fish confuses predators, making it harder to single out an individual to attack. Some schooling fish that can be found at the reef include the Yellowtail Fusilier and Damselfish.

 

 

Deep Trail

Sea fans

sea fan

Sea fans are brightly coloured animals closely related to the corals. Each fan can grow to over one metre in size. The wide side of the fans is usually oriented to face the flow of the currents and they are often covered with colourful feather stars that use the sea fans as a convenient perch.

Sponges

sponges

Sponges are simple reef animals that do not possess the usual nervous, digestive or circulatory systems that are common in many animal groups. They are also known as “pore animals” as their surfaces are covered with tiny pores that lead to complex networks of tunnels. Through the action of specialised cells, they are able to maintain a constant flow of seawater through their bodies where they filter plankton and suspended particles.

Sea stars

icon seastar

Sea stars are related to sea cucumbers, sea urchins and featherstars, which all commonly have a five-point body symmetry. Sea stars like the Cushion stars and Icon stars are general feeders, crawling slowly along the reef graving on the surfaces to feed on algae and other available organic material.

 

Soft corals

soft coral

Soft corals, unlike their close relative ie the hard corals, do not have a hard skeleton. Instead, they have bits of calcium needles (sclerites) embedded within their tissue to give them support. Some species are delicate with a translucent main trunk and short branches. They may host symbiotic shrimps, porcelain crabs or brittlestars within their branches.

 

Nudibranchs

nudibranch

Nudibranchs or sea slugs are molluscs that only have shells during their larval stages. Most nudibranchs have brightly coloured bodies that serve to warn potential predators that they are poisonous as their bodies are able to accumulate toxins from the food that they eat. Other nudibranchs, like the Solar Nudibranch, acquire algae from their food which allows them to photosynthesize like plants.

 

 

Last updated on 05 November 2015

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