Friday, October 31, 2014

Interesting and weird creatures

Hi Sea Fans!

On my travels I get to see so many beautiful and amazing sea creatures. Two of the more unusual fish that I'd like to tell you about are the Lancer Dragonet and the Longlure Frogfish.
Lancer dragonet (Photo: JE Randall)
The Dragonet is very well camouflaged, as you can see in the picture, but the male is actually quite pretty (see for a better picture) .- he uses his fins to attract females as well as keep other males away.  The prettier Mandarinfish (also a dragonet) is a very well-known aquarium fish because of its beautiful colours.
Mandarin fish(Photo: Luc Viatour /
One of the first dragonets I saw, other than the Mandarin fish, was in South Africa.  We weren't quite sure what it was at first, but when we pulled out the handy Fish ID book, we soon found out that we had found an amazing creature.  We didn't keep it though, we returned it back to where it came from in the sea because we didn't know what to feed it and how best to house it at the time.  That's one of the worst things you can do: get an animal and THEN think about the food and housing requirements.  It's the same when you get a pet, you can't just go and buy a dog without thinking about where it's going to sleep, what kind of food it will need and how much the food, vet bills and other extras will cost.  An animal needs to be taken care of properly and that is why you need to find out more about your animal before you decide to keep it.  Please keep that in mind the next time you go pet shopping, Sea Fans!
Commerson's frogfish.
The Frogfish is even more weird looking!  Very cute though, in an ugly sort of way.  It can also camouflage itself very well...on sponges.  This little guy has an interesting appendage - have a look at the picture below and you'll see the thing poking out of his head.  This is what is used to lure little fish closer so that they can be eaten.  It's like a fishing rod with a piece of bait at the end, but the piece at the end is actually attached to the frogfish.  The little fish doesn't know what's hit it when the frogfish strikes!
Longlure frogfish (
So that's my 2 cents worth for this week Sea Fans.  I hope you have a great week.  Drop me a comment on this blog if you'd like to know anything or just to say hi.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Crayfish or isopod?

Hi Sea Fans!

I had the opportunity to walk around the rock pools a while ago with some kids.  What fun!  When last did you go searching the rock pools for interesting little creatures?  I haven't been in a while because I've been so busy, but the memories of that visit made me want to make more of an effort to get out there.  We found all sorts of things: starfish/sea stars, anemones, mussel shells, crab moults (the outer skeleton that the crab sheds and then it develops a new outer skeleton by hardening the soft layer underneath), barnacles and even an octopus - what a treat! 

One thing that had us confused was something that looked like a baby crayfish.  The kids got so excited.  At closer inspection, we found that it was in fact an isopod.  Isopods are also crustaceans like the crab, crayfish and shrimp, and are found in virtually all marine habitats from the intertidal to the deepest oceans.  The tail-fan of the isopod is what made us think the little creature was a baby crayfish.  (Have a look at the tail-fan of the giant marine isopod below.)
Giant marine isopod that is often displayed in aquariums. (Photo:
Over 270 species occur in southern Africa.  Now isn't that amazing.  Some marine biologists study animals just to be able to classify them so that we can know which animal is which.  Sometimes there is only a very small difference between two animals, but then they are put into different categories (family, phylum, sub-phylum etc).  Fascinating stuff!

For those of you who would like to treat yourselves and see even more animals at the rock pools, find out when the next New Moon or Full Moon is.  Spring tides, which are extra high high tides and extra low low tides, occur shortly after the New Moon and Full Moon.  This is when you can see even more animals because more of the rocks will be exposed at the low tide.  Check out the following link for a cartoon explanation of spring and neap tides:

In other words, when the sun, earth and moon all line up, all the water bodies on earth (including lakes) are pulled away from the earth so that they bulge more than normal, causing the higher high tides and lower low tides that we call Spring Tides or Springs.

Enjoy discovering your rock pools Sea Fans and chat to you soon.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Ocean Camp

Hi Sea Fans!

Just a quick one today...I was at Ocean Camp in Gulf Shores Alabama!

It was such a quick visit, but I got there at an important time: There was an art show where kids entered t-shirt entries in art design with a dolphin, the Ocean Camp mascot and frequent visitors to Gulf waters.   
Me with Caroline - the 2nd place winner.
The winning entries!
A very cool idea!  Thanks for having me Ocean Camp and Belinda.

Have a great week Sea Fans!
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