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Marine Scene

From the Depths

June 2013

Boats in the Philippines are long and narrow and made with wing-like outriggers for stability. Looking up from a busy coral reef this one seems to hover above the reef like a graceful bird. Add new comment... Read more »


May 2013

Not one of the ocean’s most beautiful fish, the stargazer (family Uranoscorpidae) has a face made for B-grade horror movies. These beasts are ambush predators. They usually bury themselves in sand with only their eyes, mouth and a small patch of well-camouflaged skin visible. Should any... Read more »


April 2013

Looking at the elegant forms of jellyfish in water, it is fascinating to consider that they are almost indistinguishable from their environments. Percentage-wise, jellyfish are more than 95% water. Despite this, they have a nervous system that can detect prey, predators and each other, as well as... Read more »


March 2013

Among the features of tropical reefs are the Clownfish which inhabit and protect anemones. They are better known as Nemoes since the advent of the animated film, Finding Nemo. These courageous little fish don’t hesitate to attack any creature which comes too close to their anemone, and... Read more »


February 2013

Pufferfish are very slow-moving, partly because of their unstreamlined shape, but also because of the size of their fins, which are excellent for manoeuvering but poor for speed. They protect themselves by inflating their stomachs when threatened, which causes their hidden spines to protrude. A... Read more »

Ridgeback Amphipods

December 2012

Amphipods are small laterally flattened crustaceans. The biggest ones known are found in the deep ocean where they can grow over 28cm in total length, though most of the group is less than a centimetre long. These ones are called ridgeback amphipods (Ochlesis lenticulosus) and they are often... Read more »

Fiery Spines

December 2012

The fiery stinging spines of a tropical urchin (Astropyge magnifica) conceal what looks like a small planet but is in fact the organ through which wastes exit its body. Urchins’ five-toothed mouths lie under their bodies, and their protective spines move with ball-and-socket joints. They... Read more »


November 2012

The term nudibranch (naked gills) comes from a combination of the Latin, nudus, and Greek, brankhia. Though this looks like a very glamorous cupcake, it is in fact the back view of a nudibranch – this specific one is known scientifically as Chromodoris willani. The feathery bits on the top... Read more »

Feather Stars & Squat Lobster

October 2012

Feather Stars are probably the most ancient of the echinoderms, a group which includes starfish, brittlestars, urchins and sea cucumbers. They have tiny bodies, with the mouth and anus on the upper surface. Feather Stars have hook-like feet called cirri, which they use for perching, and graceful... Read more »

Speckled Klipfish

September 2012

Speckled klipfish (Clinus venustris) are among the most engaging small fish to be found on Cape reefs. They seem to love posing for photographs and have even been known to give photographers a gentle nip if they're not getting the attention they want. Add new comment... Read more »


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