Watchful cormorants see my snkl @ Lady Bay SA 30-11-2010
Watchful cormorants see my snkl @ Lady Bay SA 30-11-2010
Repin Comment
We see some weird anemones in marine SA (slide img Flinders Island inv Gp 2006)
We see some weird anemones in marine SA (slide img Flinders Island inv Gp 2006)
2 comments
Repin Comment
David Muirhead Probably in the family Aliciidae,which has a number of undescribed species or currently undergoing taxonomic review.Those that are commonly seen by divers in South Australia are very attractive especially when in active feeding mode.They are also able to glide or 'crawl' up and down sea grass blades quite rapidly in context of anemones generally (which are mostly either stationary once settled or very slow moving except for those that deliberately detach and drift with the tides and currents.
Watery abstract, Yankalilla Bay, SA 30-01-2011
Watery abstract, Yankalilla Bay, SA 30-01-2011
Repin Comment
Western Blue Groper @ cleaning station, WRC, KI’s Nthwest cst, SA
Western Blue Groper @ cleaning station, WRC, KI’s Nthwest cst, SA
2 comments
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David Muirhead This is a male,the females are green or variations of but with green the base color.
David Muirhead It is parked at the station of several western cleaner clingfish but neither station nor cleaners are visible in the image.They are clearly seen in several other photos I took of this fish at this site on same dive,however.
Bright sun on ultra-shallow algae Seacliff SA
Bright sun on ultra-shallow algae Seacliff SA
1 comment
Repin Comment
David Muirhead Mixed good and bad algal species IE the baddies are opportunistic and excessive due excess nutrients in catchment runoff,resulting from coastal settlement and altered land use.
Carrickalinga SA by snkl; 06-01-2011
Carrickalinga SA by snkl; 06-01-2011
2 comments
Repin Comment
David Muirhead This image merely exemplifies the usual stuff that awaits even the most timid and novice casual snorkelers throughout much of summer and autumn and indeed often winter but they can be ruined by excess rain related near shore pollutants IE storm water and the accompanying nutrient and suspended sediment loads,anyway in any comparison with other easy access low population low global awareness sub temperate beach entry snorkel sites,this is the one that I always think of first!
David Muirhead Yes I do...
Bullseyes (juvs) w Trachinops noarlungae, Sir JBGp,SG, SA 12-05-2009
Bullseyes (juvs) w Trachinops noarlungae, Sir JBGp,SG, SA 12-05-2009
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Bryozoan Bugula serrata (@centre of img) Inv.Gp, Eastern Bight SA
Bryozoan Bugula serrata (@centre of img) Inv.Gp, Eastern Bight SA
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Boarfish,Yellowspotted, Lumb Artfcl Reef, Nlga SA
Boarfish,Yellowspotted, Lumb Artfcl Reef, Nlga SA
1 comment
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David Muirhead These are spectacular and quite big reef fish which are probably not seen by divers and snorkelers these days as often as was the case for the first half of my diving life.We do still see them,but less often at the shallow inshore limit of their usual depth range and particularly if one is diving anywhere near major metropolitan coastal sites such as greater Adelaide.You don't have to be a genius to ponder the connection between targeted spearfishing plus commercial fishing both targeted and as by catch,and the above anecdote They are very good eating and very easily speared or trawled in many regions in southern Australia from close inshore right out to deep shelf waters,generally in moderate to high energy rock reef areas but also found over soft bottom if there is good invertebrate habitat e.g. sponges razor shells and the like.
Trevally @ Smooth Pool, West Coast SA
Trevally @ Smooth Pool, West Coast SA
3 comments
Repin Comment
David Muirhead Smooth Pool is a popular (but remote for Adelaidians if travelling by car) shallow but quite large natural 'pond' on rocky shoreline on SA's west coast,between Elliston and Streaky Bay.Popular for fishers and snorkelers,rather less so for divers but worth a look on SCUBA if one can be bothered lugging one's kit or rockhopping carefully while kitted up,the 50-100 metres or so from nearest AWD vehicle parking spot to get to the pool's nthn edge.The pool is almost cut off from the sea at low tide and especially in calmer weather,but can be 'undiveable' when storms and tides dictate.However,given the paucity of more fully protected snkl/dive sites that cld be called 'all weather or nearly so' spots on this very extensive stretch of high energy coastline,it's a great fall-back option on many days when deeper and in context even better sites are blown out which can occur for days at a time.
David Muirhead Smooth Pool contains both seagrass meadows,brown algal canopy-type shallow granitic rocky reef benthos,and some small patches of bare sand and rubble incl. pebbled bottom,and on a good day horizontal viz can be excellent,making the scale fish schools eg trevally,Australian Herring,and several mullet spp.,easy to view and at low tide one feels secure from the small but real risk of large sharks sharing your swim:any free swimming sharks eg whalers and whites would only be able to enter Smooth Pool on the tides and thus risk being cut off from the open ocean at low tide.
David Muirhead Caveat:My above description is based on only a couple of snkls and dives in this Pool,so apols to the local community members who know the site far better,if I've got my facts a bit wonky!
Seastar Echinaster arcystatus @ Rapid Head GSV SA
Seastar Echinaster arcystatus @ Rapid Head GSV SA
1 comment
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David Muirhead This large sea star is quite common on medium and high profile rock reefs in many areas in south Australia.
Erna’s basket Star on jetty piling in SA
Erna’s basket Star on jetty piling in SA
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Odd to find this common SA nudibranch (C.brevicaudatum) on side of tiny ledge @ Seacliff SA depth 0.3m 05-11-2013
Odd to find this common SA nudibranch (C.brevicaudatum) on side of tiny ledge @ Seacliff SA depth 0.3m 05-11-2013
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Australians mine world’s best opal, but ‘The Unique South’ tops that
Australians mine world’s best opal, but ‘The Unique South’ tops that
Repin Comment
Poorly prepped slide scan,old,of Pissy Boy Rock via Western River Nth Cst KI SA
Poorly prepped slide scan,old,of Pissy Boy Rock via Western River Nth Cst KI SA
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Carrickalinga snorkel,showing shallowest subtidal zone, 27-12-2010
Carrickalinga snorkel,showing shallowest subtidal zone, 27-12-2010
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A weedfish(possibly H.perspicillatus) @Carrickalinga Sthn FP
A weedfish(possibly H.perspicillatus) @Carrickalinga Sthn FP
2 comments
Repin Comment
David Muirhead Southern Australian Clinidae (weed fish ) are poorly researched to put it mildly.None are considered commercial species and most are small,highly cryptic,and occur in shallow rocky reefs with plenty of cover and despite being mostly very small they are strong swimmers capable of holding position on the rocky benthos even in moderate and high energy sites. Much confusion exists as to whether various forms and color variations represent separate species vs. subspecies or simply sexual dimorphisms together with seasonal enhancements when mating.
Clinid v snkl Carrickalinga SA 03-03-2011
Clinid v snkl Carrickalinga SA 03-03-2011
2 comments
Repin Comment
David Muirhead Clinics are generally able to turn their heads from side to side by bending at the neck IE anterior or cephalad aspect of the body just behind the opercula.
David Muirhead I'd not realized that this ability is said to be an uncommon attribute in the world of true bony fishes until reading about it's presence in some other unrelated group of fishes. While on topic I will add that one particularly unusual member of the weedy whiting group here in Southern Australia,the Tube Mouth fish,also has this ability. I'll add a comment to the tube mouth image posted elsewhere on this pin board.
Haycock Point Carrickaliga SA 29-12-2010 via snkl
Haycock Point Carrickaliga SA 29-12-2010 via snkl
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Who’d have guessed; molluscs share golfball phobia
Who’d have guessed; molluscs share golfball phobia
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Pipefish pair (prob. breeding couple) hotspot Normanville SA
Pipefish pair (prob. breeding couple) hotspot Normanville SA
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Urchin in benthic rock reef crevice May 2009 SJBGp SA
Urchin in benthic rock reef crevice May 2009 SJBGp SA
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Mature WBGroper(old very l-r scan) in SA (prob. WRC,KI)
Mature WBGroper(old very l-r scan) in SA (prob. WRC,KI)
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Toadie and shore crab face-off (snkl, dusk, 09-03-2013 in GSV SA)
Toadie and shore crab face-off (snkl, dusk, 09-03-2013 in GSV SA)
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Snook under RB Jetty sthn FP 17-01-2011
Snook under RB Jetty sthn FP 17-01-2011
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Toadies w shrimp@dusk, Carrickalinga SA 09-03-2013
Toadies w [email protected], Carrickalinga SA 09-03-2013
10 comments
Repin Comment
David Muirhead There were at least 30 smooth toadfish in the one medium size rock pool with limited connection to the open sea via a narrow channel,and they were all desperately queuing (along with a few zebra fish) for cleaning by the in this case seemingly outnumbered rock pool shrimps. z Some images show a shrimp picking food off toadies heads and bodies with the shrimp actually crawling all over the toadies which displayed overt client posturing..A consequence of this must be the assumption that the shrimp are in some way immune to or tolerant of the tetrodotoxin usually present in their skin. However doubt persists in this matter because it is possible that the toadies only get cleaned at times of very low tissue saturation with the toxin,which is known to varie considerably due factors such as age,diet,season,location.
David Muirhead But looking at the bigger picture,it seems probable that the great majority perhaps all fish species require cleaning IE parasite removal and /or removal of skin debris,so puffer fish would be likely to need cleaning just like most other fish,and my images which prove this is done by rock pool shrimp of course do not exclude other cleaner hosts from also getting involved at times,e.g. there are also a few western cleaner cling fish in the same pools.These are known to clean a great variety of other reef fish species including zebbies,dusky morwong,magpie perches,harlequin fish,southern blue devil and many others.
David Muirhead Closely observed a dusky morwong parked at an obvious cleaning station under the Noarlunga jetty just inside the platform reef in six to seven meters depth on a Marine life society of south Australia dive last Saturday and though I expected the cleaner would be a western cleaner clingfish,there were none present and that cleaner host species is almost always readily visible in such cases,so even if it or they are cleaning the other side of the client initially,after a short time they usually come into view for the patient diver,sometimes even abandoning their client and swimming directly towards you in the mistaken belief that you are a very large queue jumper client and thus likely to be a food bonanza! The other main reason they may not be visible at or near the station is if they are cleaning another client first while the next client (in this case it would have been the morwong) is queuing.
David Muirhead Further to above comment: But then after about five minutes I finally saw the cleaner at work and it was (actually there were probably several but I could only be certain of one) a rock pool shrimp Paleamon serenus,aka red-banded shrimp,and it was in full view (finally,because for the first few minutes it had been working out of sight on the other side of the clients body and caudal region and I'm able to be confident about this because the visibility was excellent plus I had been playing my strobes pilot light up and down the quite large client fish and would have noticed even a little shrimp readily,even if it was just resting on the station which was a flat sided low rock surrounded by silty sand)...it was now crawling over the clients caudal peduncle and moving along the upper dorsal body in full view towards the head.Annoyingly for me as soon as I started taking images of the host on the client,the client became nervous and departed the station so that I have only poorly illuminated and rather low quality image evidence of this episode. But it left me in no doubt whatsoever that this shrimp species is a cleaner of dusky morwongs in addition to toadfish and zebbies(and therefore in all probability many other reef fish species)
Snorkel in GSV’s shallows in SA 02-12-2010
Snorkel in GSV’s shallows in SA 02-12-2010
Repin Comment
Stars and Stripes Leatherjacket, Inv.Gp, Eastern Bight SA(also known as the Beautiful Leatherjacket)
Stars and Stripes Leatherjacket, Inv.Gp, Eastern Bight SA(also known as the Beautiful Leatherjacket)
2 comments
Repin Comment
David Muirhead While far from rare this leatherjacket species is not often observed by divers here in South Australia because it tends to favor deep offshore rock reefs.But it does occasionally venture up to depths easily divable on air,possibly out of curiosity,not having seen scuba divers at its usual depth of habitat.
David Muirhead Hello,I'm back,actually I never went away (!)
Black Cowry in host sponge, Sthn Fleurieu, SA,18-11-2013
Black Cowry in host sponge, Sthn Fleurieu, SA,18-11-2013
Repin Comment
Spongy scene @ 5m depth, Carrickalinga SA Nov 2013
Spongy scene @ 5m depth, Carrickalinga SA Nov 2013
1 comment
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David Muirhead This picture is of an unusual color mix:small blue 'blob ' sponges against the predominant yellow species.Taken in a wide rock crevice IE a heavily shaded niche in an area better known for its prolific macro algal scenery.

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