Saturday, February 21, 2009

11 up, 1 down & a slug to celebrate

An intertwined couple of Nudibranchs (sea slugs - Chelidonura amoena from the family AGLAJIDAE) were found 'doing their thing' off Sapi island back on 19th March 2007. Nice, but not the main story.

4th January 2009 brought loads of modifications to my TARP fish list. So much so that I am only here reporting back on the new ID panels I've created; I have yet to update my checklist or the combined one for TARP. My total of fish species now lies at 399; the total I am aware of in TARP is now 529 identified (and another 12 unidentified - 2 of which are known to be undescribed). So what have we got?

First off, a new colour morph to be added for Goby Amblygobius albimaculatus and new ID panels for the Adults of Wrasse Halichoeres prosopeion and Damsel Pomacentrus burroughi, as well as for the Juvenile phases of Fusilier Caesio teres and Damsel Dischistodus perspicillatus. Alongside these are better photos for Wrasse Halichoeres melanochir (Initial phase) and Damsel Neoglyphidodon oxyodon (Juvenile).

Next up: the realisation that most of my sightings of Cardinalfish Apogon trimaculatus are in fact a previously unlisted species - Apogon rhodopterus; similarly that a couple of examples of Shrimpfish Aeoliscus strigatus are in fact another rarer species in TARP - Centriscus scutatus; furthermore that I was probably mistaken in assigning an unique sighting of Pomacentrus vaiuli as P. armillatus (which I will be removing from the checklist).

Lastly, a good list of totally new species for a single day when I was already 389 up at the start: Wrasse Anampses meleagrides (Initial phase), Damsels Chrysiptera oxycephala and Neopomacentrus filamentosus and Pomacentrus philippinus, Trevally Gnathanodon speciosus (skitting around me and my buddy as though we were cruising sharks which it likes to hang with), Rockskipper Istiblennius edentulus, inch-long Dartfish Parioglossus philippinus, Grouper Plectropomus maculatus (particularly pleasing to see large Groupers in the Park), and Parrotfish Scarus forsteni including also the striking Initial phase morph.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2,000th TARP Fish Observation

January 4th 2009 saw my 2,000th logged fish observation in TARP (I only make a maximum of one entry per morph per location per day). Gradually, I'm uploading some of these to the web (but only one example per morph per location per year; for example Gymnothorax javanicus). Happily enough, it was also my first sight of a fairly large (around two feet long) Grouper Plectropomus maculatus - a pity there are not more large groupers in TARP but there is at least one! (I am still working on that and several snorkel/ diving days since so I have not yet updated my on-line database.) Since working on the TARP fish list in earnest, I have tended to forego taking photos of invertebrates. But as with this beautiful Feather Star (an Echinoderm in the Order Comatulida) photographed off Sapi island back on 25th July 2007, I retain a fascination with the whole, magnificent spectrum of fauna in TARP.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Potential Bleaching Predicted from June 2009

For the first time this year, NOAA's 18 week forecast is predicting potential bleaching conditions off western Sabah (starting at the end of May 2009). See their animation for details. Worrying... particularly hot on the heels of the potential severe bleaching warning in the southwest Pacific. Let's hope that neither the prediction climbs into a worse category, nor comes true!

Here's a 'critter' that might be affected if it does: hard coral Euphyllia divisa (family EUPHYLLIDAE) photographed off Gaya island on 1st September 2007.