Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Unusual marine sightings

Here at Cap Ternay we are privileged to be diving each day on one of the healthiest and most diverse coral reefs in the whole of the Seychelles. Two dives are never the same and as we enter the water we never know what we are likely to find. From megafauna such as sharks and turtles to the tiny gobies that live amongst the coral heads, each dive is a new adventure.

Each month GVI Seychelles will report on some of the more unusual sightings we have encountered, alongside photos and a little bit of information about their biology.

During the last week we have identified three different members of the Scorpionfish family. So called because of the venomous fin spines found on most members of the family, Scorpionfish produce a poison from glands located on their dorsal fins. They are masters of camouflage and can be found resting motionless on the sea bed where they wait to ambush their prey.

Tassled Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis oxycephala) – Probably the most common scorpionfish found in our area. The Tassled Scorpionfish grows to a length of 35cm and blends into the seabed by having extremely variable colours and markings.

Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus) – The Leaf Scorpion fish was seen this week for the first time in the bay. Like other scorpionfish they are able to blend into the background and are found in a variety of colours. With the ability to shed their skin allowing for a change in colour these fish usually sway with the water movement to mimic a drifting leaf.

Devil Scorpionfish (Scorpaeonopsis diabolus) – This devil Scorpionfish was found resting on the sand under a coral bommie in only a metre of water.

Undoubtedly beautiful and fascinating creatures, the scorpionfish are also extremely poisonous so it is important that when out diving we take care not to make contact with them. As with everything when we are in the water the same rule applies, ‘Look but don’t touch’.