Tambja Tambja everywhere!

Date February 20, 2017

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There was a Tambja explosion at Pulau Hantu this weekend. Not literally. But there were lots of them! They offered a nice spot of colour to the reef, and we never get bored of looking at them! Some were squished up like the one above…

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Others were stretched out as they explored the reef for food. Tambja nudibranchs like to feed on bryozoans.

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Escaping out to our southern islands on the weekend offers a unique opportunity to be surrounded by quiet islands where the loudest sound is the ceaseless chattering of Collared kingfishers. Beneath the water’s surface, there were lots of flatworms! This is a common Pseudoceros flatworm.

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This one is more colourful. Many flatworms mimic the warning colours of nudibranchs. Unlike nudibranchs, which are not palatable to their predators because of a toxin stored in their skin, flatworms are edible. This form of mimicry is known as batesian mimicry.

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Dermatobranchus nudibranchs lack the dorsal gills typical of Dorid nudibranchs. They can be distinguished by their club-shaped rhinophores. They come in many colours and can be encountered both on our reefs and in the intertidal zones. The lines on their body is not always obvious, as can be seen between these two individuals.

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Some lucky divers got to encounter a little cuttlefish!

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It tries to mimic the algae by distorting its colour and texture.

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Chromodoris lineolata is another common nudibranch that can be encountered on our reefs and shores.

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Cystiscus minutissimus is a tiny but brightly coloured gastropod that can be found throughout the western Pacific.

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We also saw Carpet eel-blennies, crabs, and a purple polka-dotted nudibranch that we had never seen before but we couldn’t get a picture :( I think it might have been a Chromodoris tumulifera. But at least we got a photo of this brilliantly-coloured Tenellia sibogae! Lesson learned – always have a camera, or dive with someone who does! Nevertheless, it was so good to ascend from the last dive into the beautiful, quiet and cool waters of the western reef. We didn’t want to head home but alas we had to acquiesce.

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Thank you for a great dive! We had two new volunteers in training with us this weekend. We look forward to both sharing our love and knowledge for our reefs with them, as well as gaining new insights and perspectives from their experience!

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