27 Apr 2010

A goby in the muck

So, it has been a couple of months I haven't visited Kalogria in Chalkidiki, and luckily Hector visited me so we went!
It was wonderful to be in the water again, but unfortunately the sight we saw was not a very pretty one. Ok the sea bed was covered by the seasonal weeds but the shock was that of very sick sponges ... that were covered by a white slime, that looked like it was suffocating the sponges, causing them to melt....we are looking into what is causing this and will keep you posted. In between the slime, a lonely Thorogobius ephippiatus looked kinda confused....
The leopard spotted goby is one of the easiest gobies to identify because of his pale fawn body and distinctive dark purple or black spots. It has a relatively large body, reaching a maximum length of 13 cm, and the breading males are darker in colour with a conspicuous light-pale blue edge to the dorsal and anal fins. These gobies love to eat amphipod crustaceans and worms.
Most often you will find them in ledges and crevices in vertical rock faces down to a depth of 40m. This fish was photographed at 25 meters.

11 Apr 2010

Looks like a ghost but it is a long cousin!

Tunicates or sea-squirts or ascidians is common names that we use for the members of the class Ascidia (or class Ascidiacea). This class belongs to the phylum Chordata which is the phylum that belongs and “our” class Mammalia.
Cione roulei, Lahille, 1887 is also known as red tunicate. It seemed very strange to me when I first see it at Paros. I don’t think that it is common to find this animal at the eastern Mediterranean. It is strange and I didn’t understand that it is a tunicate at first sight. It has an inner and outer part of the animal. The outer part looks like a cloak or a ghosts sheet. If you touch it the inner red part will move while the outer not. I find them at less than 5 meters depth and this animal prefer living at deeper. After I found the impressive couple of the first photo I continue swimming around to find more of them. I found one without obvious ghost sheet and one without color inside. I think that all this are C.roulei but I cannot be sure because I left them there. In next posts we will learn more about tunicate biology and meet more members of that class.