Tuesday, April 29, 2008

273 fish species in TARP: illustrated on-line

Chelmon rostratus (Butterfly fish from the family CHAETODONTIDAE) above (photographed on 22nd September 2007 at Hanging Gardens off Gaya Island) is just one of 273 fish species I have photographed in TARP, and now presented online with simple comparative descriptions. (293 variants/ sexes/ ages have their own descriptions since several species can have such different forms). The location is www.tarpfish.blogspot.com and I hope to add to it and modify it as time goes by; watch the feed in the side panel of this blog.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sabah Society Invitation

I've just been invited to give a photo presentation on the marine life in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. It will be at the Sabah Society in Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday 27th May starting sometime after 7pm. I won't be able to show everything I've got but I'm sure I'll find space for the creature here in my presentation as I find it fascinating. Known as Heliofungia actiniformis (from the hard coral family FUNGIIDAE) you, like me when I wrote the first draft of this blog this morning, could easily mistake it close-up for the 'Finding Nemo' anemone - Heteractis magnifica. I took this photo on 10th February 2008 at Hanging Gardens off Gaya Island.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nice fish. Shame about the eggs

Noting the full moon, a couple of us took the plunge last night in the hope that coral might be spawning as had happened in Palau a couple of nights before. Little joy on that front: just one coral head spawning and I was unable to capture it on film or photo. Anyway, I came away with some lovely shots of an Octopus and my first view of a Stargazer.

Whilst many hard corals only come out at night, soft corals are often open in the day, like this one (from the family ALCYONIIDAE I believe) which I took on 17th November 2007 at Clement's reef north of Sapi Island.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

TARP Fish Identification Parade

Yesterday I began the laborious process of uploading 275+ fish into an online identification palette called TARP Fish. I had tried to get it published on paper - and maybe that can come one day - but I was turned down by a publisher last week so I've decided to make what I have available online. I hope you enjoy it. Eventually I'll get to the Barracuda (family SPHYRAENIDAE) but for now I'll just give you a taster with a shot of a school of Sphyraena qenie taken on 6th April 2008 off Sapi Island's main beach.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Covert Ops may be used against fish bombing

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said this week that they may use covert operations alongside other approaches, to reduce fish bombing off Sabah's west coast to zero. Apparently fish bombing has reduced, though by how much and over what timescale is unclear from reports.

Whilst you wait with bated breath, enjoy this picture of an anemone shrimp from the family Palaemonidae taken on 10th February 2008 off Police Beach on Gaya Island.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Undescribed Goby species seen in TARP

A Japanese expert on Gobies has confirmed that a recent photograph I took was of an as-yet undescribed species of the genus Venderhorstia. It is not however unknown: several photos of it have been taken in Sabahan waters and it is expected to be formally described in due course.

I've not yet uploaded pictures of any of the amazingly beautiful and delicate Feather stars (class: Crinoidea, order: Comatulida) to be found in TARP. This one was taken at Padang Point off Gaya Island on 22nd September 2007.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Picture catalogue of TARP fish species on its way

I had my proposal turned down yesterday, for a publication of an illustrated guide to the reef fishes of TARP. Never mind, it releases me to do something similar on-line and to explore other avenues. With over 260 species and around 300 variants all photographed here in TARP, I'm hoping it could prove useful to local and visiting fishwatchers. My dream is for a small, plastic page, comprehensive guide. Anyway, watch this blog for more news.

And enjoy this picure of a Christmas tree worm (family Serpulidae) taken at Hanging Gardens (Gaya Island) on 1st September 2007.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nudibranch number one

TARP is host to an array of Nudibranchs, most obviously from the family Phyllidiidae. This one was photographed by me at Hanging Gardens off Gaya Island on 10th February 2008.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Harlequin Ghost Pipefish off Sapi

It's out there off Sapi island right now and it's gorgeous! Photographed on 6th April 2008, Solenostomus paradoxus is its scientific name - better known as the Harlequin Ghost Pipefish. A relative of the Seahorses in which males brood the eggs, in this family it is actually the females who do so.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Whale sharks came back

Beautiful! Check out the 9 minute film of divers in the water with several Whale sharks off Gaya island in late March.

The photo here show a close-up from the mantle of a giant clam (mollusc family Tridacnidae) taken off Gaya island (Hanging gardens) on 10th February 2008.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Gaya Island's Proboscis Monkey Surprise

It's fascinating: after two years of diving all around TARP, I only discovered yesterday that there was a troop of the endangered Proboscis Monkey on Gaya Island! The little known fact re-emerged when divers rescued a drowning monkey off Sapi Island.

This picture of a Golden Damsel (Ambylglyphidodon aureus) was taken on 28th August 2007 near where the monkey was subsequently rescued.