Questions and Answers 2008
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Added 23 October
Question by Graham Heiberg: A quick look at this sponge could almost make one believe it's a frog fish. It had me fooled, but only for a second.
Indeed it is not a frog fish but only a sponge - frog fishes do not occur in Cape Town, but the similarity is striking, especially when one considers that frog fish can look remarkably like sponges (or is it the other way around?)! Have a look at some of our examples... For more details click here.
Added October 23
Question by Graham Heiberg: I came across this little Nudibranch on Saturday. The depth was about 15m and the water was 10 - 11 Deg C. I think that the nudibranch is a Tan Dorid (doriopsilla capensis). Please can you confirm this?
We can indeed confirm that your identification is spot-on! For more details click here.
Added 23 October
Question by Victor Barnard: Conditions were quite good with vis about 10m at times at Coral Gardens on Saturday, my first dive in the Atlantic for this summer season. We saw a couple of these creatures 'hanging' around at about 14 m. It's a sac like creature, about 20 cm long and hangs on loosely with a couple of tentacles. I'm curious as to what it is.
It is a sock or swimming anemone, a rather curious type of anemone which doesn't wait for food to float by, but actively moves around to get it! For more details click here.
Added 13 October
Question by Tanya and Danie Colyn: Fish with wings? Can you please identify this? Seen it in Malorca
This is a flying gurnard, which, incidentally, cannot fly - the "wings" are used to scare off predators instead. For more details click here.
Added 6 October
Question by Dr. Niel Malan: I caught this fish while fly fishing at the Strand. The specimen was 120mm long. Someone suggested that it could be Clinus superciliosus? Hope you can help.
Yes, this is indeed a Clinus superciliosus - or super klipfish. For more details click here.
Added 22 September
Question by Jeff Corbett: What species nudibranch is this?
It is a crowned nudibranch, a common species, but which may be mistaken for a few closely related species. For more details click here.
Added 22 September
Question by Andrew Taylor: What is this?
It is a sea cucumber - a young one at that. For more details click here.
Added 1 July
Question by Andrew Taylor: I saw this fish at Sodwanda, what species is it?
It is a weedy scorpionfish, which is rare in our area. For more details click here.
Added 1 July
Question by Andrew Taylor: I saw these nudibranchs in Port Elizabeth - what species are they?
The one is the variable nudibranch, Aphelodoris brunnea, the second one (shown) we don't know. For more details click here.
Added 10 June
Question by Andrew Taylor: Is this a two-eyed blenny?
Yes, it is. For more details click here.
Added 26 May
Question by Graham Heiberg: I took this picture on the PMB on Saturday. It was in the aft hatch at about 20 meters. I think that it is a scorpion fish but I am not sure, the general consensus on the boat is that it is a scorpion fish. Could you please help?
It is indeed not a scorpionfish, but the much more common pleated toadfish. For more details click here.
Added 26 May
Question by Andrew Taylor: Is this a kingklip?
Yes, it is. Initially we thought it was a conger eel, whose head looks quite similar. Only later did Andrew mention barbels under the head, which immediately discounts the conger eel, and verifies the kingklip identification. For more details click here.
Added 26 May
Question by Uta Higgs: What is this shrimpy thing with 6 pairs of limbs, the front 3 of which had pincers
This is the classic cleaner shrimp, the banded boxer shrimp. For more details click here.
Added 26 May
Question by Shane Willard: I saw this fish at Unkomaas (Aliwal Shoal) recently, and I cannot identify it, what is it?
It is the whitespotted puffer, a moderately common species in warmer waters. For more details click here.
Added 1 May
Question by Grant Whitford: In a book there is a story of a fisherman being grabbed by a giant octopus in Smitswinkel bay. Is this possible - do such giant octopus exist in the Cape? And if so, where are they now - why don't we seen them?
The story is possibly slightly exagerated, but very large octopus do exist. Where they are we don't know, but given their preferred habitat, maybe we simply just don't encounter them... For more details click here.
Added 17 April
Question by Amanda and Derick Viljoen: What nudibranch is this? It was hanging by a tread as like a spider on a web. I find the brown colour unusual.
This is the fiery nudibranch, and the colour is odd because of a common problem with compact cameras: the flash did not light it up properly. For more details click here.
Added 29 March
Question by Andrew Taylor: What species of fish is this? Photographed at Star Walls, Hout Bay Sentinel.
This is the horned blenny, a moderately rare and usually quite skittish species. For more details click here.
Added 15 March
Question by Rene Pretorius: I saw this aggregation of nudibranchs while diving at Aliwal Shoal. Is this normal?
Yes, for some species of nudibranchs it is normal for them to be found in close proximity, in some numbers. This often has to do with feeding or mating. For more details click here.
Added 17 February
Question by Adriaan Johnson: what species nudibranch is this?
This is the scribbled nudibranch Doriopsilla miniata, which is moderately uncommon. For more details click here.
Added 2 February
Question by Dieter Stegemann: What nudibranch is this?
This is a Tritonia nilsodhneri, the whip-fan nudibranch. Usually it is found on various sea fans, so seeing it out of its environment is uncommon. For more details click here.
Added 10 January
Question by Mike Bradley: I found this floating, coiled in a figure-8, above the sand during a dive at Oudekraal. What is it?
It's a wonder-worm in an unusual place, given that it prefers to stay burried under rocks. For more details click here.
Added 10 January
Question by Stephanie Perillard: What is this? Photographed in the Phillipines
This is Phyllodesmium briareum, a nudibranch. For more details click here.
Added 10 January
Question by Zelda van Wyk: I spotted this 'Ray' at Balcony (Rooi Els) recently on 2 separate occasions in approximate 3-5 m water. It seems very docile, it never swims away - though I've never tried to touch it or prod it to provoke such behaviour. I have a few more photo's where it was pushing itself closer to the rocks, but this is the best pic. My Two Oceans identifier book doesn't reflect this particular ray (I think it's a ray) - as the tail and additional circular 'flap' at the end of the body is much larger and different to that in the book. I only saw the one - then again, as I saw it on 2 different dives - maybe there are 2. The water was quite murky but calm, the ray always on sandy patches but right next to or in-between some rocks.
This is indeed a ray - specifically, the one-fin electric ray, Narke capensis. For more details click here.