Archive for ‘Ecological’

Lionfish the dangerous beauty

By , 15 April, 2014, No Comment

Petrois Volitans also known as the lionfish. The lionfish can live to around 16 years in the wild and lionfish often live longer if looked after well in captivity. There are around 8 different recognised species of lionfish that are found in the Pacific Ocean. The lionfish is natively found in coastal waters around rocky crevices and coral reefs where there are lots of smaller fish for the lionfish to eat and also places for the lionfish to hide.

Here on Koh Tao it is rare to find lionfish but there are a few places where you can see one or two of them such as the dive site junkyard an artificial reef just off the beach at Mae head, at the back of the site there is a table tipped over on its side with 3 benches around it here inside the table stand a baby lion fish stays and is almost always there either sleeping or just resting.

The largest of lionfish can grow to about 15 inches in length, but the average is closer to 1 foot. Lionfish prey on a wide variety of small fish and crustaceans that inhabit the tropical reefs. The lionfish is prey to few predators due to the large size of the lionfish and also the fact that the appearance of the lionfish is very intimating to other animals. The spikes that protrude from the body of the lionfish contain venom that the lionfish uses to defend itself if it is being pursued.

The lionfish although dangerous is a beautiful creature and is not inherently aggressive towards humans, this allows us to view it without much worry and admire just how stunning the lionfish really is. So come to Koh Tao request junkyard for your dive and go see the lionfish in all its glory

Nick Kelly

lionfish 1

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Stingrays

By , 2 March, 2014, No Comment

Let’s talk stingrays for a minute.

Stingrays are found quite frequently while diving here on Koh Tao.  There are two main types of stingrays that we see: The blue spotted ray and the Jenkin’s whipray.

The blue spotted ray is the more common stingray and its usually found subtly hiding under rocks during the day, although occasionally they’ll be just chilling out in the open almost as if they want divers to check them out.  They have very alien-looking eyes that protrude from their heads and spiracles behind their eyes to allow them to breathe.  The blue spots serve as a warning to other fish that they are poisonous and should not be messed with.  But no need to worry, they are not aggressive in the slightest and are perfectly safe.

The Jenkin’s whipray is rarer and although it doesn’t have any bright colors on it, it is a little more spectacular due to its larger size.  It’s quite a sight to behold.

Both rays are more active at night when they can be seen swimming around and hunting for mollusks by digging into the sand.  It’s one big attraction of doing the night adventure dive on your PADI Advanced Open Water course.

-Petestingray

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Nudibranches the superheros of the sea?

By , 20 February, 2014, No Comment

Nudibranches, or sometimes falsly known as sea slugs, are beautiful aquatic creatures. With their colourful skin, they attract every divers eye. But don’t let yourself trick from the beauty of those animals. As they don’t have a shell anymore they developed another defense system to protect themselves. One of their defense mechanism is their shape and appearance. Nudibranches camouflage themselves looking like their sorounding enviroment to avoid predators. As we know from other animals bright colofull bodies are always a warnign sign in nature. Another way is, they are feeding on hydrozoids, which are commonly known as stinging cells in the sea ( if you ever wondered why you should wear protection while diving, hydrozoids are one of the reasons) But hydrozoids won’t do any harm to the nudibranch, instead they take them into their cells to produce these hydrozoids on their own and use them on their outer skin to defense themselves. ( they have this amazing ability also with producing their own supply, after feeding on chloroplast, the part of the plant cell that is used for photosynthesis). Next time you come diving with us always watch out for those hidden superheros at the bottom of the ocean!

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Rubbish is rubbish!!

By , 16 December, 2013, No Comment

Rubbish is a big problem all over the world and it’s important as divers and even non-divers that we respect the oceans. It’s an incredible world and once you discover how amazing it is you really appreciate it. So as often as we can we do beach clean ups and even in our spare time we try our best to clean up.

koh Tao is getting bigger with tourism, people are starting to realise that this little island exists, now it’s been voted as the best island in Thailand, so over the next year the number of travellers are going to increase dramatically so we have to be on the ball. More tourism means more rubbish!

Diving here on koh Tao is probably the best in the world and it’s heart breaking when you see so much rubbish floating around, and even harder If you see a fish caught up in it. Let’s all keep our beaches clean by making sure we put are rubbish in the bins!

Keep koh Tao beautiful!!

liz

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On Which Dive Site Can You Find Five Different Species of Shrimp?

By , 10 November, 2013, No Comment

No Name Pinnacle is an occasionally dived site situated 100m to the west of Koh Tao’s busiest site, Twins. If you prefer a less crowded site then check this site out. It’s even possible to dive this site as a drop off and swim back to Twins if the boat’s logistics dictate this.

 

Davy Jones’ Locker boats visit this site on both morning and afternoon dives.

 No Name Pinnacle is great for finding different species of shrimp. In fact it’s the only site I can think of in Koh Tao, where I commonly find up to five different species. You can find the three most common species: glass shrimp, Durban dancing shrimp and banded boxer shrimp; also, the less common anemone shrimp and my favourite, the saw blade shrimp.

 Shrimp are vital to the reef eco system; as they are carry out on of the main symbiotic behaviours vital to a healthy reef – cleaning. To rid themselves of parasites and dead scales, fish need to visit cleaning stations. This function is carried out by cleaner fish and many shrimp species. So next time you are diving, go slow, and look out for this type of behaviour.

 Possibly the main reason there are an abundance of the rarer shrimp types on No Name Pinnacle is due to the infrequency of divers visiting the site.

 The small anemone shrimp are very delicate and are likely to become dislodged from their anemone home by careless fin wash – so try to maintain good buoyancy and fining technique when fining close to the reef.

 The saw blade shrimp lives on the green whip coral which is abundant on No Name Pinnacle and is in very good condition. It is common on the very busy sites to see lots of damage to the whip coral as careless divers have brushed past it. Divers often forget that the whip coral is living coral just as the other stony and soft corals which cover the reef floor. Divers should try to demonstrate the same care and attention to the whip coral as they would for the other corals.

 

So if you want a change from the norm, instead of diving Twins, check out No Name Pinnacle next time.

 

Banded Boxer Shrimp

 

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