Friday, February 13, 2009

Rottnest Island - Chromodoris westraliensis

After weeks of hiatus, finally this blog is back into action!

For the coming weeks, I will write about those amazing marine creatures that I saw while snorkeling at Rottnest Island. I was there the last few days attending my annual summer school. The first few days I just snorkeled near when I stayed. On the fourth day, I went to the Parker Point Marine Park, Little Salmon Bay as well as the Green Island.

Bickley Bay - the beach near where I stayed.

Bickley Bay is a special place for me - it's where I saw the southern eagle ray for the first time, and now - the nudibranch for the first time.

I was actually making my way to the shore when I caught a glimpse of bright colors on the shallow reef. And when I saw the creature's flatworm-like body with feather-like structures on its back, I know it's a nudibranch. The feathers are the animal's exposed gills. Nudibranch (or nudie) means "naked gills".

The next day, when I was exploring the rock crevices and holes around that rock island offshore of Bickley Bay (the small island in the first photo), I saw a nudie again - the same species. And again I saw another one when snorkeling at Green Island.

My reference says that Chromodoris westraliensis is the most common nudie around Rottnest Island and the Perth waters. Although they are said to be often hanging around sponges on which they feed, I don't remember seeing them on sponges. Anyway, they can extract toxins from sponges and use them for defense.

And also, these pretty animals are hermaphrodites. So I guess gender equality is not an issue in their world.


Jasmine said...

What a wonderful world...i am envy of you, chai~~haaa

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Hi Jasmine, thanks. We can go snorkeling there if you ever come to Perth again!

Denis Wilson said...

Spectacular creature, Chai.
Welcome back to Blogging. I have missed your interesting view of the underwater world.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Thanks, Denis.

fremantlebiz said...

Hi Chai,

Nice marine pics. Did you uses a submersable camera?

Cheers, Paul. :)

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Hey Paul,

Thanks for visiting my blog. Glad to know that you like the pics.

Yes, I use a waterproof digital camera (Pentax Optio W60).