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Reef Report for Friday, September 12, 2003

Nemo and friends are indeed alive and well on the Great Barrier Reef

With the recent release of the movie "Finding Nemo" about an anemonefish (clown fish) and our Great Barrier Reef, I thought I could expand on the relationship for you between the clownfish and the anemone! Also described as a symbiotic relationship this particular association between the clownfish (Amphiprion percula) and the anemone has been known to science since 1868. © Andy Lang The fish gradually acquires protection from the anemone’s stinging cells at the junior stage and is never seen without its host, making the fish completely dependent on the anemone for its protection. Potential host anemones can be found without the fish, but research suggests that the anemones do better with fish in place. The fish protects the anemone from predators immune to its sting such as the ‘butterflyfish’ while the anemone provides protection to the fish.

This particular anemone fish is very brightly coloured orange with three white bars and generally grow no more than 5 to 12 cm long. There are a number of different species of anemonefishes, all of which can be identified by the bright orange colour with white bars and in some species black edging around the white bars. You will normally see them on the Great Barrier Reef and in water 1m to 10m.

Ribbon Reefs and Coral Sea.

Reports from Undersea Explorer this week claim spring has sprung with divers being treated to a sighting of a large aggregation (more than 100) of Moorish Idols. © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises Apparently this is considered unusual behaviour for this normally solitary species, and indicates 'love is in the air'. The Moorish idol is a beautiful black and white striped fish, with a ribbon like dorsal fin.

Divers onboard also had a couple of fantastic dives with giant Manta Rays. These gentle giants were seen feeding on plankton with mouths extended wide.

Guests onboard TAKA II had a fantastic dive at the cod hole with a number of cod coming in for the feed. A bull shark was also captured on video, while at Challenger Bay dozens of Schultz Pipefish were seen, along with a pride of Lionfish seen hunting and a very friendly hawksbill turtle. On one of the night dives an epaulette and a wobbegong shark were seen. Also on show for the shark feed at Osprey Reef 40 or more Grey Whalers and White Tip Reef Sharks were spotted along with a resident moray eel and potato cod. As always there was much to see at Steve’s Bommie, with sightings including Giant Cuttlefish, Porcelain Crabs, schooling Square Spot anthias and some clarkes anemonefish.

Well the weekend is shaping up to be not too bad for being out on the water. At this stage the winds are expected to be 10 to 15 knots from an E to NE direction. As always, safe diving! Steve Brady

Some "Finding Nemo" Links for you:

"Finding Nemo" filmaker’s website.

Disney’s "Finding Nemo" website.

A great children’s guide to Coral Reefs, by Ocean Futures

(C) Pro Dive Cairns This weekly reef report was written by Steve Brady of Pro Dive Cairns, who compiles them from the dive trips he takes, as well as the many conversations he has with divers, dive instructors, captains, and others in the Cairns dive community. The report is published weekly in the Cairn Post, the local daily paper and appears here thanks to the courtesy of Pro Dive Cairns.

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Copyright © Great Barrier Reef Enterprises

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