Royal Mail Ship Rhone wrecked off the coast of Salt Island in the British Virgin Islands on 29 October 1867 in a hurricane. The rusting hull of a shipwreck provides provides the perfect platform for the development of a living reef . Almost immediately a ship comes to rest on the seabed an ecosystem will start to establish itself. Fish are usually the first to arrive at a new wreck, but are quickly followed by scores of other creatures. This ecosystem will eventually become varied and prolific, with an astounding number of different species often inhabiting a very small area. Many species need a foothold or place to hide in the fish-eat-fish world beneath the sea, and ships by their very nature contain a myriad of nooks and crannies that provide perfect homes for many of these critters. The wreck acts as a reef that will provide shelter for numerous species of fish and crustaceans, and the fact that they are usually raised from the sea bed makes ideal habitats for sea anemones, coral and fan worms, which feed by filtering the sea water as it flows by.
The stern section of the dive doesn’t offer too much in the way of penetration possibilities but probably has the most beautiful swim through of all wreck. Here is the stern of the ship with its propeller and rudder. The swim through also provides a protected area for the Hardhead silverside sardines – Atherinomorus stipes and Glassy sweeper – Pempheris schomburgkii to gather in great numbers.
Clark’s Anemonefish – Amphiprion Clarkii In a group of clownfish, there is a strict dominance hierarchy. The largest and most aggressive fish is female and is found at the top. Only two clownfish, a male and a female, in a group reproduce through external fertilization. Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning that they develop into males first, and when they mature, they become females. They are not aggressive.
Magnificent Sea Anemone – Heteractis Magnifica Venom present in sea anemone (Heteractis magnifica) induces apoptosis in non-small-cell lung cancer A549 cells through activation of mitochondria-mediated pathway. The longevity of in the wild is unknown, but estimated that some of these anemones are hundreds of years old. The Clarks Anemonefish lifespan is only 14 years. The reproduction of the anemone can be sexual by simultaneous transmission of male and female gametes in the water or asexual by scissiparity,which means that the anemone divides itself into two individuals, separating from the foot or the mouth. That makes me say “Hmmm, very impresive.
Glossodoris Cincta – Nudibranch Feeds on sponges. When crawling, the gills make vibrating movements. When provoked, it discharges a white fluid from mantle dermal formations – in which they store distasteful chemicals from their food sponges to use defensively.
Etymology Glosso= Greek ‘singular’ + dorís= ‘a nymph’, one of the daughters of Oceanus cinctus= Greek ‘to put a belt around’
Sky Blue Phyllidia Nudibranch – Phyllidia varicosa Probably the most frequently seen tropical Indo-Pacific nudibranchs. The phyllidiids are a group of firm, tough-bodied dorids in which the usual circlet of gills are replaced by leaf like secondary gills under the mantle skirt. It is sometimes called the “scrambled egg nudibranch.” These sea slugs are masters of chemical defense and contain a chemical mucus poisonous to fish and crustaceans. Scientists named it 9-isocyanopupukeane after the dive site, Pupukea, on O`ahu’s north shore. They are capable of killing all life in the aquarium if stressed in any way. They have no known predators.
Etymology Phyllidium, from the Greek phyllos = ‘leaf’ verrucosa = from Greek ‘wart-like’
Ambon Crinoid Shrimp – “Laomenes Amboinensis sp group” Trying to identify which species of shrimp this is has proved to be more difficult then I desired. It has become a field of rabbit holes. Each time thinking that I found it it turn out No. I only have one photo of this fellow. To date, nine valid species are known in this genus and they show a wide diversity of morphological features such as shape of cornea and eyestalk, chelipeds and dactyli of ambulatory pereiopods, coloration and host specificity. Although many underwater photographs of these colorful shrimps are available in guide books, magazines and internet, there are rather few taxonomic reports on the species of this genus and most species only have limited confirmed geographical records. Moreover, it is highly likely that more species are present in Laomenes.
Etymology: In Greek mythology Laomenes is a son of Heracles and Oreia, daughter of Thespius, king of Thespiae, and Megamede; during his hunt for the lion of Cithaeron to free Thespiae from this scourge, Herakles stayed with Thespius for 2 months, as a result all 50 daughters of Thespius and Megamede bore him a son each (except the oldest, who produced twin boys); Laomenes was one of these 51 boys. Ambon Island is part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia +ensis, Latin denoting origin
This is the true color of the shrimp and the crinoid host. I have decided to name him “Skinny Adam L”.
It is a lighter shade red than Maroon 5.
Jon B, jason B said “for crinoid out loud that is a bad joke”.
Juvenile Warty Frogfish or Clown Frogfish – Antennarius maculatus You can tell a Warty Frogfish from the painted frog fish by the skin being very warty (not so much as still juvenile) and a large triangle patch starting at the eye. The warty frogfish exhibits biofluorescence, that is, when illuminated by blue or ultraviolet light, it re-emits it as red, and appears differently than under white light illumination. Biofluorescence may assist intraspecific communication and camouflage.
Etymology antenna – Latin =’ a sensory appendage on the head’ refering to the fish’s lure, + arius – Latin = ‘pertaining to’ maculatus – Latin = ‘spot, stain’
Shortpouch pygmy pipehorse – Acentronura tentaculata Like a combination of seahorse and pipe fish: their tail is prehensile and used for anchorage, winding itself around pieces of algae or seagrass. However, the front part of the body is typical pipefish, with the head and body held in line rather than bent through and angle like seahorses. There is sexual dimorphism and the males are somewhat larger and more robustly built than the females. Because they are so small, the brood pouch is also large in proportion to the body, giving the males a somewhat more seahorse-like appearance than the females which have the typical slim linear form of pipefishes.
Skeleton Shrimp – Caprellidae family – amphipods. Females carry large number of transparent eggs inside the brood pouch (located on her abdomen) until they hatch.
Pookey the pygmy pipehorse gathers his skeleton shrimp friends around to retell the great story of the day that Jon descended down from the waters above. Jon was dressed in a dark fake skin that was stretched very tight. Attached to each of his rear appendages were awkward rubber fins. His blue eyes were concealed behind a layer glass. A great hissing sound followed by a rumble of bubbles escaped from around Jon's mouth in a rhythmic pattern. Hssssss blublublublublublub Hsssssss blublublublublublub! He carried in front of him a great contraption that flashed a very bright light from the orbs at the end each of its antennas - one on each side of a single unblinking eye. Jon stayed only a few moments peering into this contraption and pointing that mysterious eye to and fro. FLASH Hssssss blublublublublublub…..FLASH Hssssss blublublublublublub. FLASH Hssssss blublublublublublub. Then, Jon swam off at a great speed. It was indeed a marvelous day.
Slender Filefish – Monacanthus tuckeri This filefish is a master of adaptive camouflage, it changes appearance in less than four seconds. Three-dimensional dermal flaps complement the melanophore skin patterns by enhancing the complexity of the fish’s physical skin texture to disguise its actual body shape. Found over sandy and rocky bottoms. Usually they live solitary or in pairs between gorgonians, sponges or near coral growths. Often they stay vertically in the water. Especially between gorgonians they are difficult to spot in this position. Feeds on algae and invertebrates. Due to the extremely small size of the slender filefish, they do not lie on the seabed as bigger fish do, but use their mouth to grasp the soft corals which prevents them from drifting with the sea currents.
Painted Frogfish – Antennarius pictus – Has a lure which is about twice as long as the second dorsal spine. Nearly always 3 light-edged spots on tail fin. A. pictus shows a lot of different colors and changes them quite often.
I was disappointed that I could not capture a photo of the little lure waving about. When I put my camera in the housing I did not get the strobe hot shoe clicked completely in place. This was lighted by holding my dive light from above and I couldn’t produce enough light for a fast enough shutter speed to catch the waving.
Etymology Antennarius: From Latin, antenna, antemna = ‘sensory organ’ pictus: From Latin = ‘painted’
Spotted Worm Sea Cucumber – Synapta maculata – Sometimes growing as long as 10 ft, it is one of the longest sea cucumbers in the world. The 15 tentacles of Synapta maculata surround the mouth and are used in surface feeding. They are about 1 in long when extended and have a short stem and a feather-like blade with thirty to forty pairs of pinnules (secondary branches). The outer surfaces of the tentacles have numerous bulges and are adhesive while the inner surfaces are smooth, with clusters of cilia on the proximal parts. The tentacles are in continuous motion; they flatten themselves against the substrate or seagrass leaf blades and collect food particles by adhesion, then bend inwards until the tips are in the mouth, where the food is scraped off by the buccal (mouth) sphincter muscle. The whole process takes only a few seconds, and several tentacles can deliver their loads at the same time. You can watch them go at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ru1fcsFp1M