Questions and Answers 2011
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Added 12 September
Question by Charles van Wijk: We saw this 'organism' at Rambler Rock on 27 Aug 2011, lying on the sandy bottom, at about 20m. It was about a meter long, and looked as if it consisted of connected "cells", each translucent, with a spout/mouth (not unlike that of a sea-squirt), and a dark snail-shell sized part inside. Any clues as to what it could be?
Your analogy of "that of a sea-squirt" is spot-on - this is a salp, a pelagic colonial tunicate or sea squirt. For more details click here.
Added 12 September
Question by Adriaan Johnson: I I can't decide if this is a spinenose or smoothskin horsefish. The skin looks smooth, but it does have a spin on the nose. Can you help?
This is indeed a spinenose, as that spine is absent in the smoothskin - whose skin isn't always smooth either... Confused? Read on... For more details click here.
Added 12 September
Question by Carel v.d. Colff: Spotted this a dorid today at Windmill which one is it please - chocolate chip of variable?
This is the variable dorid. For more details click here.
Added 17 April
Question by Clare Lindeque: These babies (I think) were disturbed by other divers in our group (gnnnh!) in about 10 metres of water near Ark Rock. any idea what they are? they were under a plank or plate or something, and it was turned over, exposing them.
For a change the disturbance is a fortunate one, as this is something quite unusual to see. They are indeed babies, of the snakehead toadfish, a species which likes living under things and is hence rarely seen.
For more details click here.
Added 17 April
Question by Clare Lindeque: I have been assuming these are barehead gobies - are they? I seem to have become more and more tolerant of variation until I realised that this fish (Long Beach) doesn't really look like a barehead goby at all!
This is a barehead goby - they are quite variable, going from very white to nearly black. For more details click here.
Added 17 April
Question by Clare Lindeque: Is this an anchovy? large schools of them recently at Long Beach.
No, it is a maasbanker. For more details click here.
Added 20 March
Question by Carel v.d. Colff: I dived longbeach this morning and Came upon this skate/ray. Is it a spearnose skate?
No, this is not the spearnose skate, but the rather odd-looking diamond ray, a sight not often seen by divers at all! For more details click here.
Added 20 March
Question by Kate Jonker: Is this a dorid? Are you able to tell me what the attached is? We have spotted them at Pinnacle (Gordons Bay) - swimming and resting on rocks as well as at Steenbras River Mouth this weekend. I would love to know what it is?
This is not a nudibranch, but a flatworm - and quite an unusual one, which has not been described scientifically yet. For more details click here.
Added 10 February
Question by Carel van der Colff: Please see the attached picture of a sorrow looking fish. Is it a mullet? I can't say, its tail fin is rounded and he looked like had more fins than fish normally have?
This is a rather rare sighting - first time I've heard of a diver seeing one underwater: it's a hake!
For more details click here.
Added 10 February
Question by Clare Johnson:We saw this dude on a dive on the Cape Matapan at 24 metres yesterday. Is that ridged thing sticking out on the side actually part of his body, like gills, or can I add this to my parasites collection? Have seen lots of warty pleurobranchs but never this particular feature before.
That ridged thing are indeed the gills. This sea slug belongs to the group of "side gill" slugs, who have their gills on only one side of the body. For more details click here.
Added 10 February
Question by Clare Johnson: I see these things everywhere, in a variety of colours (black, clear and black, orange) and just wanted to confirm: it is a type of sea cucumber, yes? Buried in the sand? What is their proper name????
This is indeed a sea cucumber, specifically the golden sea cucumber. It is one of several species found in our waters. For more details click here.
Added 3 January
Question by Paul Papenfus: I'm looking for ID on a snail that I saw there. I attach two photos. Any ideas? I think it may be kind of cowry, maybe trivia magnidentata, but cannot be sure. Most images of cowries on the web seem to show the shells rather than the animal?
This is indeed Trivia magnidentata. For more details click here.
Added 3 January
Question by Adriaan Johnson:Adriaan recently went to Sodwana and had a few questions.
For more details click here.
Added 3 January
Question by Mauro Introna:Mauro asked "What fish is this?"
but on responding he said "OK ... But is the tail not rather odd?", and, indeed if one looks closely, the tail looks odd - except, it isn't the tail! For more details click here.