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  Seaweek 2004    

Seaweek Discoveries in Victoria's Marine National Parks
and Marine Sanctuaries (cont)

courtesy Parks Victoria


Vermilion Seastar
Pentagonastar dubeni

This handsome seastar sports a deep red to orange armour plated coat with a mosaic pattern that helps protect it from predators. Moving on slender tube feet with tiny suckers at the end of each one, these seastars are often assocaited with sponges and rocky reefs.

Seastars are related to sea urchins, brittle stars and sea cucumbers. This seastar eats by pushing its stomach out of its mouth and digesting the food outside of its body. When finished it sucks its stomach back in through its mouth.

Verco's Nudibranch
Tambja verconis

Nudibranchs or sea slugs are beautiful brightly coloured animals. The name refers to the feathery naked gills on their backs. Growing to 13cm in length they move around like a common garden slug.

Living on sponges and other animals, Verco's Nudibranch feeds on green colonies of moss animals known as Bugula. Their striking colours and poisonous bodies deter fish from eating them. 400 species of nudibranchs are found Australia wide in habitats such as rockpools and sponge gardens.


Southern Hermit Crab
Trizopagurus strigimanus

Hermit crabs are eccentric creatures that protect their soft tail by living in old snail shells. A scavenger, hermit crabs feed on the remains of both plants and animals. They can grow to about 12cm in length.

Crabs carrying eggs are said to be 'in berry'. Hermit crabs hide their eggs in a pouch on their bodies, inside the shell. Their eggs hatch into planktonic larvae and eventually settle to the sea floor and look for snail shells, sometimes battling each other for the ideal home. Hermit crabs are found on rocky reefs in Southern Australia's temperate waters.

Southern Fiddler Ray/Banjo Shark
Trygonorrhina fasciata

A long tailed ray with beautiful markings that is shaped like a Banjo. Its head and body are flat with eyes on top and mouth and nostrils below. Related to the Eagle Ray and Sting Ray they grow to 120cm, are placid and harmless, and live in shallow waters such as those of bays and estuaries.

Banjo Sharks have no teeth, instead using bony plates to crush shellfish and crabs. They give birth to live young and have very few predators apart from humans. Found in mudflats, bays and estuaries.


Southern Pot-bellied Seahorse
Hippocampus abdominalis

There are few things more graceful and intriguing to watch than the courtship dance of Seahorses. An elegant glider through water, the male Pot Bellied Seahorse has a brood pouch in which the female lays their fertilised eggs. After a month or so, dad gives birth to up to 100's of live young that look like miniature versions of their parents

Seahorses posses long tubular mouths which 'suck in' unsuspecting small crustaceans. They use their tales to hold on to vegetation. The capture of wild seahorses for use in the traditional Chinese medicine trade and habitat loss threaten the future of this most unusual fish.

Search site

Seaweek 2004 Home
1 Get started for
Seaweek 2004
2 Harmful Marine Debris
3 The EAC (East Australian Current)
4 Fish Fact File
5 Dugongs
6 Ghost Fishing -
Reducing the impact of fishing on non target species
7 First View - Giant Crab at home on the Slope
8 I live in the sea: Turtles the ancient mariners of the sea
9 I live in the sea: Sharks & Rays - they're more scared of us!
10 Sea stars
11 Marine algae
12 Sea jellies
13 Crustaceans
14 Echinoderms
15 Marine reptiles
16 Fisheries and Aquaculture
17 Whales & Dolphins
18 Protection of precious wetlands - success in New Zealand
19 Seaweek Discoveries in Vic Marine National Parks
Seaweek Partnerships

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