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Reaper Cuttlefish – Sepia mestus

The Reaper Cuttlefish, is a small species of cuttlefish with deep red coloration native to the southwestern Pacific Ocean, observed from Escape Reef off Queensland to Jervis Bay just south of Sydney. I have usually seen these cuttlefish in pairs and many times I will bump into them as I’m combing the sediment looking for pipefish.

There is another species of cuttlefish, the Mourning Cuttlefish, Sepia plangon, which looks very similar and is also found in NSW.

Amphiprion ocellaris

Fish: Amphiprion ocellaris or False clownfish

Distribution:  In coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific, particularly in the Fiji and Tonga regions.

Habitat: Amphiprion ocellaris lives in coral reefs  in lagoons and slopes, and lives in association with the sea anemone Heteractis magnifica, and other sea anemone species, notably Stichodactyla gigantea.

Mating: Amphiprion ocellaris are initially male; the largest fish in a group becomes female.

Interesting fact: The bright orange base striped with white found on this clownfish species allows it to be undetected in its surroundings of fluorescent corals and anemones.

 

Clownfish

This photo was taken in Bait Reef, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

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Rapid Bay Jetty, Rapid Bay, South Australia

Rapid Bay jetty, located in Rapid Bay on the west coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, is an awesome dive site, and is only 1.5 hours south of Adelaide.

Fish rule here as invertebrates are not as abundant as found at other jetties in South Australia. Huge schools of yellowtail and oldwives swim through the pylons, especially in the deeper area of the jetty at the T section. 

 The invertebrates found on the pylons vary from beautiful blue and yellow colonial tunicates species to small sea stars of various colors, and to big Ceratosoma nudibranchs.

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Periclimenes imperator and Periclimenes soror

The emperor shrimps, Periclimenes imperator, and Periclimenes soror, are a species of shrimp with a wide distribution across the Indo-Pacific. It lives commensally on a number of invertebrate hosts, including nudibranchs, sea cucumbers, and sea stars. Periclimenes imperator has  typical duck-billed appearance and has purple legs and pinces. Periclimenes soror on the other hand is smaller and and its claws aren’t purple tipped. I’ve usually seen this species on blue sea stars in New Caledonia.  

David McGuire

David McGuireName:  David McGuire
Age: 50
Location: Sausalito, CA, USA
Occupation: Director of Shark Stewards, Shark Conservationist and Videographer
Years Diving:  36
Dive Certification: Dive Master
Diving Gear:  Oceanic Holly
Dive Sites Visited: Philippines

Favorite dive site:  Pt Lobos, CA, USA
Favorite critter: White Sharks
Want to Dive: Indonesia
How did I get into Diving: The thrill of being underwater

Hippocampus whitei

Fish: Hippocampus whitei or White’s seahorse

Distribution: New South Wales Australia from Botany Bay to Port Stephens.

Habitat: Hippocampus whitei occurs in shallow-water estuaries and inhabits seagrasses, sponge gardens and artificial structures such as jetties and protective swimming nets.

Mating: Hippocampus whitei is considered to be monogamous and pair-bonded during the breeding season.

Color variations 

Hippocampus whitei

Hippocampus whitei

Hippocampus whitei

 

A great place to see H. whitei  is on the shark net either at Chowder Bay or in Manly Cove in Sydney harbor. I have found many color variations ranging form brown to yellow to orange.

In Port Stephens you can find  H. whitei in the abundant soft coral. In Manly Cove either in the shark nets or in the seagrass nearby.