Photo: Clare Daly @daly.clare
‘A prickly situation. Nine porcupine rays congregate off Fouquet Island in St Joseph Atoll. Vulnerable and scarce throughout their range, it is unusual to see this species in large groups, however, on this day we counted over fifty, tucked in as cuddly as porcupine rays can get. Which isn't very close.’ _________________________ #darrosresearchcentre#seychelles#atoll#ray#porcupineray#cuddly
Photo: Guy Stevens @mantaguy
‘Kudarah Thila in South Ari Atoll is one of my favourite dive sites in the Maldives. It's always teaming with fish life, especially if you go early enough in the morning to catch the crepuscular predators attacking their prey. This image captures the moment when a panicked shoal of neon fusiliers rush for the cover of the reef, pursued out of site of the camera lens by giant trevallies and bluefin jacks, while a red coral grouper hunts smaller prey among the coral branches.’ • #Maldives#KudarahThila#reefscene
Photo: Julius Nielsen @juniel85
‘This specimen of deep sea anglerfish was delivered to the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (back in 2015) from a fisherman catching it in hook and line at 30 m of water..... must be somekind of record Check out the length of fin rays on the caudal fin.... this is much longer than any illustration of Ceratias holboelli (Kroyer’s deep-sea angler fish) shows and it evidences that the capture method of this specimen was so gentle that these delicate structures were not destroyed. This species is normally considered a bathypelagic fish distributed circumglobal at depths between 400-4400 m’
Photo: Luke Gordon @lukeygordon
‘Neonate Shark work up. A juvenile Blacktip Reef Shark has her credentials taken, in shot researchers carefully take her pectoral girth measurement underwater to minimise stress. Work ups also include many other measurements such as weight, total length and involve the shark receiving an ID tag. Why? St Joseph Atoll is an incredibly important juvenile (neonate) shark nursery for Blacktip Reef Sharks and Lemon Sharks, the long term monitoring project conducted here is allowing researchers to better understand growth rates, survivorships and the role St Joseph Atoll plays in these important predators life cycles.’ ----------------------------------------------------------------- #darrosresearchcentre#sharkresearch#seychelles#indianocean
Killing for Gills: Fishermen and market traders weave their way through islands of fish that are sold to the highest bidders. The manta and mobula rays, being the lowest valued commodity, are often the last to sell.
Your purchase of ‘MANTA: Secret Life of Devil Rays’ will help to fund further conservation of manta and mobula rays. See the link in our bio.
Photo: Thomas P. Peschak @thomaspeschak with @mantatrust ‘MANTA Secret Life of Devil Rays’ is the first book to delve into the complex and mysterious world of these gentle giants. See the link in our bio to get yours.
Gentle Giants: A giant mouth opens wide as a feeding reef manta somersaults backwards through the water column in tight circles over and over again, gorging itself on tiny planktonic prey.
Video: Clare Daly @daly.clare
An interesting update from our D’Arros Research Centre: ‘On the prowl. A moray eel cruises the shoreline at low tide in search of a meal amongst dead bigeye scad. A recent die-off of these schooling fish, likely caused by spawning exhaustion combined with warm tidal waters, resulted in plenty of scavenging options.
If only the eel's mouth was bigger.’ ______________________________
Mantas and Me: Guy Stevens (@mantaguy) had his first underwater encounter with manta rays in the Maldives. ‘Enthralled by these graceful and inquisitive rays, I became driven by a desire to learn as much about them as possible. As I dived deeper into their fascinating lives, I started to better understand the threats they face, which drove my desire to ensure their protection.’ You can buy ‘MANTA Secret Life of Devil Rays’, the only book dedicated entirely to manta rays, see the link in our bio.
Feeding Frenzy: Spectacular mass feeding events like this occur about a dozen times a year in Hanifaru Bay in the Maldives, where as many as 250 individual mantas feed together inside this small natural cul-de-sac of reef. When manta rays open their mouths to feed, unfurling those horn-like projections, the cephalic fins, they transform into feeding machines; funnelling water through their specialised gills and trapping any plankton larger than a grain of rice. ‘MANTA Secret Life of Devil Rays’ is available to purchase. See the link in our bio to get your copy.
Photo: Chelle Blais @chelleblaisphoto via @biminisharklab
‘Today our PI’s @mattsmukall and @mauritsvzb collected and re-deployed 5 acoustic receivers in North West Bimini! Sharks with tags implanted "talk" to the receivers (i.e. when swimming in ~350m range). Then once these receivers are downloaded, the data collected will provide the PI’s with movement and habitat information for multiple elasmobranch species around the island. Luckily, this receiver is located on a spectacular reef, so it didn’t feel too much like work! Once again, huge thank you to @sherwood_scuba for providing the lab with the diving equipment needed to complete this research!’ ————————————————————————— #bimini#sharklab#bahamas#shark#science#research#marinebiology#ocean#sea#conservation
Photo: Thomas P. Peschak @thomaspeschak with @mantatrust ‘MANTA Secret Life of Devil Rays’ is the first book to delve into the complex and mysterious world of these gentle giants. To order your copy see the link in our bio.
Sex on the Reef: Female mantas regularly spend hours each day cruising around a favoured cleaning site on the reef, visiting the local ‘spa’ for a cleansing facial or body scrub. The males know this, so during the mating season these cleaning stations become the focal point for mating activity.
‘MANTA Secret Life of Devil Rays’ is the world's first book dedicated to manta rays. It was created by @mantatrust founders Dr. Guy Stevens, marine biologist and manta expert, and @thomaspeschak , award-winning @natgeo Photographer. In it they combine ground-breaking photography and the latest scientific research. They hope that this definitive publication will convey the grace and inquisitive nature of these threatened rays, capturing what is at stake if we chose not to respect and protect our oceans.
The MANTA book was published by @saveourseasfoundation , who as part of a long-standing partnership with Manta Trust, supports the influential mobulid research and conservation projects they conduct throughout the globe.
We are so proud of this beautiful, new publication that we are dedicating the next 10 days to giving you an insight into some of its contents. The book is a must-have for all manta lovers, purchase your copy of the only book dedicated entirely to manta rays. See link in our bio.
Video: Ryan Daly @pontasharkdiaries via @daly.clare
‘Nursery diversity. Drone footage captures the secret life of juvenile sharks and rays that call St Joseph Atoll home. Sicklefin lemon sharks, mangrove whiptail rays and feathertail or cowtail rays all mingle without issue. How many do you see? At D'Arros Research Centre we've set up fixed drone transacts that will help to establish the diversity and abundance of these species over vast areas with little impact. Technology is grand.’ ________________________
Photo: Danny Copeland for an important announcement from @mantatrust
‘We are excited to present a new website dedicated to sustainable manta tourism: www.swimwithmantas.org⠀
Few experiences can top diving or snorkelling with a manta ray. Growing manta tourism is raising the value of a live manta, providing an incentive for many communities to protect, rather than fish, these creatures. So, by going out to swim with a manta, you are helping conserve one of the ocean's greatest treasures! But mantas are very sensitive to disturbance, and if left without proper measures, tourism has the potential to do more harm than good. If it is to really benefit wildlife, it needs to be sustainable. So we have developed the first guidelines for manta encounters that are validated by scientific studies.⠀
Our new, dedicated website includes a 10-Step Guide to swimming with mantas plus an educational film, a growing list of tourism operators that are committed to sustainable manta tourism and more. We hope to equip operators and tourists with the information they need, to make their excursions truly sustainable for the gentle giants we all know and love. For more information see the link in our bio.⠀
We would like to thank @carlfbucherer and the @fsmaldives for their support of this initiative.’⠀
Photo: Ryan Daly @pontasharkdiaries via Clare Daly @daly.clare
Update from our D’Arros Research Centre: ‘Researcher Andrew Gray guides the fourth of what was ultimately twenty tagged wrasse over the intensive three week period we've just put behind us. This has been the most spectacular study species and a project close to my heart. I'm glad to have the pre-dawn starts behind us and data collection ahead of us but will miss wrangling these incredible fish.’ **Please note, the diver in this image is a humphead wrasse researcher, one of the few in the world, and is carefully guiding the fish as part of an important study aiming to protect the species in the Seychelles and beyond. Recreational divers should not touch or feed this rare species of fish.
Photo: Thomas P. Peschak @thomaspeschak
‘A reef manta ray breaks the surface while feeding on plankton in Hanifaru Bay, Maldives. The current was pumping hard, pushing both me and this manta across the reef flat. It took all the strength I could muster not to get sucked into the surf zone, but it was child's play for the manta. With one wing beat it shot back into the bay, leaving me to fight the current alone for another twenty minutes. Shot on expedition in the Maldives in collaboration with @mantatrust and @fonassociation’
Photo: Luke Gordon @lukeygordon
Update from our D’Arros Research Centre:
‘The local beach residents, Red Hermit Crabs (Coenobita perlatus). These little critters forage on the beach for food and survey the local housing market for potential upgrades,. A conch shell? A turdo snail shell? Or even a Cowrie shell? The choice is endless.’ ---------------------------------------------------- #darrosresearchcentre#seychelles#indianocean#beachlife#crab#hermit
Swim little shark as fast as you can!...a gurnard perch will eat this shark if it can catch it! …
This little shark (Squalus megalops, commonly called a spikey dogfish) is a juvenile, but adults don’t get too much bigger. A predator trying to eat it won’t get its way; it has to catch it first and then deal with some formidable spines on first and second dorsal fins.
This is the first underwater footage of this particular species of dogfish in the wild that Australian museum ichthyologists have seen and if they haven’t seen it then it’s a fairly rare capture.
This species tend to be in very deep water and this one is at about 60 metres depth and for the most part you don’t see them much shallower than this. I filmed this one using baited underwater video on a project led by Prof Jane Williamson from Macquarie University, when we were attempting to film and tag Sawsharks in deepwater off the coast of Tasmania last year.
Photo: Justin Gilligan @justingilligan one of the winners of our 2016 Marine Conservation Photography Grant ・・・
‘Paul Verian of Finn-Atic Fish Co. bags a speared lionfish (Pterois volitans) off Fort Lauderdale. Commercially exploited to supply restaurants throughout the USA, this invasive species is thought to have been introduced through the aquarium trade. In the absence of predators, it has thrived off Florida and in the Caribbean - photographed whilst on assignment for the @saveourseasfoundation’
Photo: Clare Daly @daly.clare
‘Kaleidoscope. A humphead wrasse is briefly held upside down in a fish sling after tagging. These fish are incredible yet very little is known about them, particularly here in Seychelles and the wider Indian Ocean. Our research will help to answer questions about their home ranges, which can inform the management of their habitats and may help to protect these iconic fish from disappearing from our oceans.’ ___________________________ #darrosresearchcentre#seychelles#humpheadwrasse#napoleonwrasse#napoleondynamite#thatsitsname