Part 26 of my weekly series, “Reef Life of the Andaman”. Night dive.
Night diving offers a different type of experience to the scuba diver, as a different array of marine critters venture out while others rest.
Cephalopods can be successful hunters by night. In Burma’s Mergui Archipelago we see a bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) feasting on an Indo-Pacific sergeant (Abudefduf vaigiensis) and a pharao cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis) feeding on a spinefoot.
Pretty moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) drift over Thailand’s Boonsung wreck. A great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) passes by the camera at Koh Doc Mai near Phuket. An orange cup coral’s pretty polyps are extended. Amongst a group of red lionfish on the Boonsung wreck, a goldband fusilier (Pterocaesio chrysozona), displaying its night coloration, is pounced on and swallowed whole by a a honeycomb moray (Gymnothorax favagineus).
Many reef fishes use the night time to sleep. We see a blackspotted puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) and a spotted sharpnose (Canthigaster solandri) resting on the reef at Koh Tachai, north of the Similan Islands.
At night, parrotfish surround themselves in a scent-proof cocoon of secreted mucous to avoid detection by sharks. We see ember parrotfish (Scarus rubroviolaceus) and blue-barred parrotfish (Scarus ghobban) using this technique.
It’s very difficult for scuba divers to observe fishes at night without disturbing them. We encounter a scrawled filefish (Aluterus scriptus), moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus), humpback turretfish (Tetrosomus gibbosus), emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator), snake moray (Uropterygius sp.), blue triggerfish (Pseudobalistes fuscus) and ornate ghost pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus) all apparently disorientated or upset by the bright lights.
Part 17 of my weekly series, “Reef Life of the Andaman”.
In this video we take a look at marine life from Thailand and Burma that uses venomous spines as a form of defence.
Of the lionfish family, the red lionfish, Pterois volitans, is most common across the Andaman Sea, but it is possible that some or all of these are actually the similar Devil Firefish, Pterois miles. Both species are very similar and possess venomous spines along their fins. We meet specimens across various dive sites near Phuket, at Richelieu Rock, and at Black Rock in the Mergui Archipelago.
Other species that are included are the zebra lionfish, Dendrochirus zebra, the rare frillfin turkeyfish, Pterois mombasae, and the spotfin lionfish, Pteroid antennata.
We then look at the crown-of-thorns starfish, or crown-of-thorns sea star, Acanthaster planci, which also has stinging, venomous spines on its body that contain a neuro-toxin intended to cause paralysis. This starfish feeds on hard corals and human intervention has been required in some parts of the world where these starfish threatened to destroy enitre reef systems.
Finally we examine sea urchins, specifically the black longspine urchin, Diadema setosum, which is prevalent across the Andaman Sea. We see a large colony of them at Racha Yai Island, near Phuket in Thailand.
Part 9 of my weekly series, “Reef Life of the Andaman”.
This episode features pretty, colorful, tropical reef fishes in the order Perciformes, including batfish, butterflyfish, angelfish and surgeonfishes. Much of the footage is from the Similan Islands.
Next Tuesday: Groupers and big fish