Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coral Bay experience (2)

Looking south from a sand dune into the main beach area and the boat ramp of Coral Bay. In the south of that yellow sand is the Paradise Beach. The white line near where the ocean meets the sky marks the outer reef.

Spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus) - blue lines on the cheeks and blue spots on the scales - that is basically how you can tell this one apart from its similar looking relatives. More info is here.

I saw many of this fish when I was snorkeling near the main beach. The great thing about them is that they would swim to you and around you, without showing the slightest sign of being camera shy. Maybe they were simply "inquisitive" - a word that many marine life writers like to use. Most of the ones I came across were probably 2 feet or longer.

Left: Another spangled emperor with an encrusting sponge or just corals in the background.
Right: Blue-tipped staghorn corals (?)

The giant clam (Tridacna species) was everywhere. I just learnt that the pretty patterns on the mantle are contributed by some microscopic algae living within the mantle tissue. This reminds me of the symbiotic algae living within the bell of the white-spotted jellyfish and the ones within corals.

Corals whose names I don't know.

Bleached patches in a coral colony

This brown one that looks like a blanket has very pretty pinkish, purplish edges.

These rock melons (except for one) are the brain corals (Platygyra species).

Another one whose name I don't know.


Mosura said...

These are absolutely awesome.!

Makes me want to don the flippers and face mask and jump in. Trouble is, The waters probably a bit cold but it couldn't be any worse than swimming in the North Sea which I've done often enough hmmmm... maybe another time.

Mosura said...

Oh... and as I'm being a little humorous above, I'd better clarify that the "absolutely awesome" comment is deadly serious. The variety of life never ceases to amaze me.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Hi Alan,

The water is still not too cold as Coral Bay is in the north, about 1200 km from Perth. Tropical waters.

I still used a shorty wetsuit the first few snorkels, but just went without the last few days.

Where is the North Sea? In the UK?

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Chai
Great post. I do not mean to offend anyone, but I would have to ask if the Spangled Emperors make good eating? The fact that they are so inquisitive, and not frightened suggests not.

Mosura said...

Yes - the North sea is between Scotland and Norway and south to Holland.