UNDERWATER BAHAMAS: REEF GARDENS (3)
We are back in the realm of ‘animal, vegetable or mineral?’. Dive down a few feet – inches, even – to the reef, and… is this thing waving about here a plant or a creature? And is that colourful lump over there a bit of inanimate rock or a living thing?
1. FEATHER DUSTERS
Not in fact pretty frilly-fringed plants, but worms among the coral. The tiny electric blue fish are Blue Chromis, ubiquitous around the reefs.
Here the feather dusters have attached themselves to a sea fan, a ‘gorgonian’ coral
Moored on part of an old wreck
A different form of duster with remarkable feathered tentacles
2. BASKET STARS Creatures in the same family group as brittle stars. Take a close look at the remarkable transformation in the two photographs. The top image is taken in daylight. The star is off duty and enjoying some downtime. However the second image is the same view at night, with the star fully open and waiting to harvest whatever micro-morsels come its way. The star has truly ‘come out at night’.
3. CORKY SEA FINGER Another form of gorgonian coral, sometimes known as dead man’s fingers… **
4. GOLDEN ZOANTHIDS Coral forms living on a Green Rope Sponge. Some zoanthids contain a deadly poisin called palytoxin, which may do unspeakable things to your heart. Like stop it. Luckily, none so unpleasant live in the Bahamas (or so the Bahamian Tourist Board would no doubt wish me to make clear).
I realise that calling this occasional series ‘Reef Gardens’ is a bit of a misnomer. They are in fact Reef Zoos. The previous posts are as follows:
REEF GARDENS 1 Anemones, Basket Stars & Christmas Trees
REEF GARDENS 2 (Corals)
Image credits, with thanks: Melinda Riger @ Grand Bahama Scuba
** I knew this image reminded me of something… or someone. And (superannuated British rockers out there), is it not exactly like the hairdo of one of the guys in Mott the Hoople, a band lifted from relative obscurity to fame by being gifted a song by David Bowie? Guitarist. Ian Hunter. Take a look at him now… and just imagine then
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