Some of the special creature us lucky divers get to make friends with!
Until you actually get out there and do a few dives in Sydney you have no idea what is under the sea. Years ago when I would get out for a dive at Oak park kids would ask, “Did you see any sharks?”, then after the Steve Irwin incident it went to, “Did you see any sting rays?”.
It is amazing all the cool creatures you can see right off the shore of Sydney, let’s have a look for of the favorites in a bit more detail. If you like reading this please let us know and I will tell you more about other Sydney marine life as well…. Enjoy.
Eastern Blue Groper
The Groper would have to be one of scuba divers favourite fish.. Following divers underwater they are the puppy dogs of the sea, they are loved so much they have been the emblem for New South Wales since 1996.
All Blue Gropers begin their life as females. As they mature, they go through an initial phase, in which they may be male or female. Eventually they change from brown to blue and from female to male. Exactly what triggers a change in sex is not yet clearly understood although it is believed that the removal or death of a male may result in the largest female changing sex or that if the ratio of males to females reaches some critical point. One thing that is certain however is that all the beautiful big Eastern Blue Gropers that divers play with is male.
Eastern blue gropers have been known to grow to 1.2 metres in length and weigh up to 22 kilograms, although fish over 15 kg are rare.
The groper was given total protection status in New South Wales waters in 1969. In 1974, angling and commercial fishing were allowed again, but spearfishing of these beautiful fish is still prohibited.
If you want to see a friendly blue groper, head to Oak Park. You are sure to see one there.
Weedy Sea Dragon
They are weird and mystical looking, not quite seahorse, not quite fish and a must see for a divers. We are lucky enough to have them at our own back door and can just about guarantee a sighting at Kurnell National Park on every dive.The Weedy Seadragon is closely related to the seahorse, being a member of the Syngnathidae family. Most people are surprised with they size and expect them to have been smaller, they can grow to about 46cm in length. They are orange/red in colour with numerous whitish spots on a lot of their body and along their tube shaped snout. The seadragon also have bluish purple stripes and some yellow markings along their bodies as well. They have leaf like appendages and a few short spines occurring along their body. The seadragon camouflage is quite good and they do resemble seaweed floating on the bottom of the sea floor. Unless you know what you are looking for seadragons can be easily overlooked. Once you have found a few of these creatures it becomes easier to spot them.Just like the sea horse the Weedy Sea Dragon male is the egg carrier. Prior to mating the male prepares the area of his tail where he will keep the eggs. This area becomes slightly swollen, soft and spongy. The female actually pushes the eggs onto the males tail. Once on his tail they are fertilised. The male carries anything from 120 to 300 eggs on his tail. Currently seadragons are protected under fisheries legislation federally and in most states where they occur, it is illegal to take or export them without a permit.When diving with these beautiful creatures remember not to touch them, be happy to look and photograph the seadragon without harassing them.If weedy sea dragon interest you, think about doing the PADI Botany Bay Watch Specialty course. This course goes for 1 day and teaches you a lot about local marine life including the Weedy Sea Dragon.SeahorseEveryone knows what a Seahorse looks like. Their body is protected by bony plates, which are arranged in rings. They have a long tubular snout with a toothless small mouth located at the end of the tube. They are slow moving, as they do not have any large fins. The seahorse has a tail, like that of a possum; it can wrap its tail around sponges and seaweed and cling there. Most seahorses use camouflage and their body armour as their main means of defense.Seahorse clinging to some sea grass”[/caption]
Seahorses have the most interesting sex lives. The male stays in the same area and looks after the babies, while the female has fun going about her day swimming around!!!
The female usually indicates that she is ready to reproduce by lifting her snout upwards, the male responds in the same way. The eggs have to be attached to the membrane inside the male’s pouch so that they can become fertilised. The male keeps the eggs in his pouch for 3-4 weeks and then he ‘gives birth’ to the young!
After the male gives birth he displays his empty pouch to his partner and the female seahorses will usually deposit another batch of eggs with in a few days.
Bet a lot of ladies out there were wishing they were sea horses.
Another creature that all divers look out for in the local area, they are amazingly beautiful and colourful. This is one that you will always remember once you see it!
Cuttlefish must be the strangest looking creature under the sea, especially when they are mating. They can change colour from bright pink to orange to white and put on a very spectacular light show.
A Cuttlefish has ten arms (eight shorter and two longer tentacles) and a chalky internal shell. This part is what you often find washed up on the shore (budgie food).One pair of arms is longer than the rest and is used to capture prey. They commonly range in size from 55 to 25 cm, but the larger species reach a length of 61 cm and the giant ones in Sydney can get quite big.
Cuttlefish normally swim by means of narrow fins that surround the body. Along with squid and octopus, cuttlefish propel themselves through the water at great speed by jetting water from the mantle cavity through a siphon.
They are very fast underwater and I have seen one trying to mate with a divers pink fins.
As you can see Sydney offers so much amazing, diverse marine life, we are so lucky here! Stay tuned for more creatures and in the meantime, come for a dive!!
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