Back on Cyrene with yet another enthusiastic team from Shell and NParks!
The first snail we find is the Black lipped conch (Strombus urceus). While other snails creep slowly on a broad foot, this snail hops! It sticks its knife-like 'door' attached to a muscular foot into the sand and uses it like a pole-vaulter. It has large eyes, probably because it has to see where it is going.
Grey bonnet snails (Phalium glaucum) today. This one buried in the sand was eating a Cake sand dollar (Arachnoides placenta).
Fig snail (Ficus variegata)! I rarely see this snail and it's the first time I've seen it on Cyrene. Even though I've been visiting this shore so many times for a long while.
octopus. I've never seen one with such large 'eyes'. Are they real eyes or just spots that look like eyes? Wow!
Leaf slug (Elysia ornata) does indeed look like seaweed and is often overlooked! Some Elysia slugs are solar powered! They suck the juices out of seaweeds but don't digest the algae's chloroplasts (the part that contains chlorophyll). These chloroplasts continue to carry out photosynthesis inside the slug and provide the slug with extra nutrients.
Filefish (Family Monacanthidae) that was just drifting along pretending to be a leaf.
Carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) with its pair of anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) that we saw yesterday. This is mama shrimp who is larger and has larger and more white spots.
zoanthids or colonial anemones (Order Zoanthidea). They can contain palytoxin which is among the most potent natural marine toxins. So it's important not to touch unfamiliar marine life.
Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) can often be seen in large numbers.
purple flowery soft coral (Family Nephtheidae) with a large long black sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota) hiding under it.
Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea). These anemones usual host Clown anemonefishes. But today, I couldn't find any in this one.
Giant top shell snail (Trochus niloticus) which is now rarely seen on our shores.
sand collars laid by moon snails, and an Oval moon snail (Polinices mammila). We also saw other interesting animals including Common sea stars (Archaster typicus), White sea urchins (Salmacis sp), Flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus), a hairy crab (Family Pilumnidae). Also of course, lots of seagrasses and various kinds of seaweeds.
Unlike yesterday, we enjoyed a cool and dry day. But just as the sun was about to set, the weather finally caught up with us. In pelting rain, we hurried back to the safety of the big boat. The dinghy is already waiting for us on shore.
in the middle of the industrial triangle and yet it has amazing marine life!
More about Cyrene Reef.