Sipadan Marine Beauty ~ NudibranchPosted on Nov 02 in Diving, Diving in Sipadan, Malaysia Exploration, Sipadanby ShelynPrint
It was a big surprise to us that Sipadan Island is not only the big fish capital of the world, which we were amazed by swirling tornadoes of barracuda, sharks, bump-headed fish and many more, it is also rich with macro life like nudibranchs! We often found ourselves in a dilemma whether to poke around in the wall for macro beings or keep an eye for the bigger stuff.
I remembered I only spotted ONE nudibranch in Bali and ONE or TWO nudibranchs in Redang Island, but I spotted UNCOUNTABLE (hmm… maybe countable, if I really counted it) nudibranchs in Sipadan dive sites which electrified me so much.
In most of the dives we were like looking for the treasures, trying to search for rare marine life especially macro life since they are difficult to find. Each time we found a nudibranch we were so exhilerated and tried to make some noises to attract other divers’ attention so we could show off our great discovery :-p.
Yes? How to make the noise under the water?
Oh… simple, just knock your tank with any tool like a metal stick or a torchlight. I never got to make any noise as I didn’t bring any tool that can make noise. So when I spotted anything interesting, I waved to my boyfriend and if necessary, he would tap his tank with his torchlight.
I will get myself a metal stick next time!! Besides producing noise, it helps for balancing also when I use it to press against the ground or the wall to make my body stays still when trying to snap a photo or look closely to something.
Oh… by the way, my crappy Sony T100 digicam doesn’t have the marine casing and hence, I had to rent the underwater camera again! RM40 per dive!
Yeah… I must admit that anything fun always cost a bomb.
I still remember the first time I learned diving in Redang Island when everyone was so excited to see the nudibranch, I was like what the hell is this tiny thingy… then I showed them “oh…” expression and continued enjoying colorful bigger fishes. I was thinking that there were so many fishes with so beautiful shapes and colours that I have not seen enough so why would I bother about that little poor lonely thing.
After having more diving experiences, only I gained some knowledge about macro life and start appreciating them :-p
So what is Nudibranch?
Explaination from http://www.sergeyphoto.com/underwater/nudibranchs.html
Nudibranchs belong to sea slugs. As all other gastropods, they are slow moving bottom dwellers. They have soft bodies and most of them lack an external protective shell. Their secondary gills are exposed outside, as reflected by their neo-latin/greek name “nudibranch” meaning “nude/naked gills”.
Some nudibranchs have numerous body projections (called “cerata”) increasing the overall body surface and enhancing breathing.
Nudibranchs carry a pair of horn-like cephalic tentacles or “rhinophores” at the front, that are used primarily as chemosensory organs (sensing chemicals). To protect themselves from predators many developed toxic or bad tasting glands in the skin, and their bright colors warn predators of their horrible taste.
Aeolid nudibranchs developed another amazing strategy to protect themselves from predators. They extract nematocysts from the coelenterates on which they feed and store them in the special sacs at the tips of their ceratas called cnidosacs. Nematocysts, located in the specialized cells “nematocytes” of coelenterates, are the stinging weapons used for catching food and for defence. Aeolids steal these weapons and discharge them when needed in their own defence.
Nudibranchs cannot be taken away or preserved – they loose their shape and colors. This protects the beautiful creatures from the risk of being fished out by tourists, collectors or for sale. The best way to bring a nudibranch home with you is to take a photograph. They cannot be kept in an aquarium because of their narrow dietary range and maybe other factors (microelements, system stability etc).
Let’s look at my crappy photos taken.
Hey… they are as tiny as thumb, some even smaller, so don’t expect me to be able to take a clear picture especially when it was UNDERWATER. There are so many things that I need to beware of:
1. My fins must not touch anything that could possibly destroy any fishes, macro life or coral under the water. In other word, my buoyancy must be excellent enough to be able to float and stay still while taking the photo.
2. My hands must be stable enough to take a clear photo while I was struggling to control my buoyancy.
3. There were many divers next to me to try to look closely of the nudibranch so I must make sure I can take a quick photo and leave the place, so everyone takes turn to look. (Don’t forget that nudibranch is as small as a thumb size so imagine how close we need to get to it in order to see it clearly)
4. That crappy camera just moody enough to produce bad quality of pictures, sometimes.
I managed to find the name and the link to the clearer pictures of those nudibranchs. Click on the name to view the better images. (I am a very responsible blogger :-p)
I think my pictures of Chromodoris Annae are quite clear.
Too blurry… unidentified objects :-p
Phyllidia ocellata (Left)
I think my eyes gonna blind soon by matching the images like this.
If anyone knows what nudibranch is that on the right, please let me know.
All these yellowish worms are nudibranchs!! So many of them sticking on the ‘tree’.
It was really fun searching for the nudibranchs and snapping photos of them. In fact not only nudibranchs… there are just too much to explore. I was completely fascinated by the beauty and diversity of the underwater marine life. I think I have started to develop a strong interest on diving and might consider investing in the underwater camera.
So much to spend.