Eye-Popping LPS Land At Ocean Corals, York

all images copyright: Ocean Corals

There are few hobbyists who wouldn’t give their right arm for high colour LPS like Scolymias and Acanthastreas. If (like me) you are one of those people then just look at these beauties now available at Ocean Corals in York.

These stunning specimens are clearly some of the most colourful ever seen in a UK store and they all look in superb condition too. So, if you’ve got the funds available and you are quick enough, you could be the proud and lucky owner of one of these unique specimens.

Please note that right arms, or any other body parts, are not taken as payment!

The Eyes Have It: Stomatopod Vision To Enhance 3D Movies

image: digital-reefs

With trinocular vision and depth perception possible in each eye, plus the ability to see polarised light, four colours of UV light and distinguish up to 100,000 colours, Stomatopods (aka Mantis Shrimps) possess some of the most complicated and advanced visual systems in the animal kingdom.

Now, focusing specifically on their unique ability see circular polarised light, scientists from Pennsylvania State University and the National Taipei University of Technology in Taiwan have succeeded in developing a new type of optical filter material that could out-perform even the most advanced current technology.

To learn more, take the time to preview their research HERE

Cryptic Species Takes Digital-Reefs Wrasses Into The Hundreds

image: digital-reefs

Although there are already well over 100 different Wrasse species profiles in the Digital-Reefs galleries, it’s always exciting to see something new and unexpected.

This gorgeous specimen, thought to be a  Cryptic Wrasse Pterogogus cryptus, was one of two (a possible pair in the making?) at Cheshire Waterlife recently.

For a full species profile and 800×600 image consider taking a few seconds to complete a FREE subscription and gain access to this profile and hundreds more (with more being added regularly).

Don’t Bite The Customers!

image: digital-reefs

Until now, no other creatures have been observed to dole-out punishment proportionately in the way that humans do (or fail to do in some cases). However, researchers at the ZSL Institute of Zoology in London have recently conducted experiments that indicate that the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse Labroides dimidiatus may do just that.

Living in a harem arrangement in the wild, male cleaner wrasses are thought to vary their punishment in line with the severity of the offence committed by a female primarily to protect their own superiority within their harem. Females that take bites of tasty fish mucus are chased for the longest as this drives the client fish away and thus deprives the male of food. In addition, this behaviour may allow a female to grow larger than the male and potentially turn into a competitor male themselves.

In terms of aquarium use, this species often starves in captivity so this research is potentially useful to aquarists. It’s also interesting to see the feeding techniques used by the researchers and you have to wonder if these techniques could be used to wean wild caught specimens onto artificial foods and to sustain them for longer periods in private aquarists tanks.

Read more HERE

Secret Lives of Tiny Gobies Revealed

This interesting video was posted on Youtube recently by Dr Piotr Kierzkowski. As well as demonstrating some impressive ingenuity and dedication, Dr Kierzkowski has captured some really interesting behaviour including a possible egg-site of this Bryaninops species. Although this isn’t a species that is normally available to marine aquarists here in the UK, the video could give you some ideas for aquascaping or even a biotope type display…. and if you ever do see a group of these fish for sale, so much the better! Click CC at the bottom right for English subtitles.

The Aquarium at Cockfields Farm Offering AquaCultured Fox Coral Frags

image: The Aquarium at Cockfields Farm

Obtaining a Nemenzophyllia Fox Coral is tricky at the best of times but if you’re quick you might manage to snap one of these frags up.

20 are currently on offer at The Aquarium at Cockfields Farm and priced at just £49 don’t expect them to be around for very long.

These pieces are said to be frags obtained from dividing an aquacultured colony that was shipped from Europe through a UK wholesaler. Unfragged colonies also appear to be available along with some stunning Plerogyra Bubble Corals.

Read more HERE

Scientists Study Clever Cephalopods

image: digital-reefs

They may be different to us in many ways, but it now seems that the brains of Cephalopods, and Octopuses in particular may not be all that dissimilar to ours.

New research methods are revealing these similarities and leading scientists to believe that these amazing creatures ability to use tools, plan ahead, mimic, remember, recognise themselves and others, and solve complex problems are indicative of a form of consciousness.

That’s not all though. Exciting new research on Nautiluses may reveal that Cephalopod intelligence has been developing for millions of years longer than mammalian intelligence [read more at New Scientist].

Recovering the Reefs of the UAE

image: EAD

Following major bleaching events caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon more than a decade ago, scientists from New York University and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) are conducting a two-year study on ten reefs on the emirate’s coastline to assess what coral species remain, and how to restore the diversity of the reefs.

In 1996 and 1998, sustained temperatures of more than 37 degrees Centigrade decimated the population of Acropora species, and these have now been largely replaced by more resilient species such as Faviids.

With a desire to attract tourism into the area, discussions on how to restore the reefs to their previous diversity levels are now underway and ideas such as protected marine parks and the use of aquaculture facilities have been discussed. In addition, a collaborative project between EAD and the Tokyo University for Marine Science and Technology saw six “coral settlement devices” dropped off the coast in May 2010.

These platforms currently show little sign of recolonisation however and there is concern that there may be insufficient numbers of coral larvae being produced to allow populations of Acroporid species to regenerate naturally. However, uncertainty over the timing of coral spawning in the region could also be coming into play and there is hope that, given time, more positive results may be acheived.

Whatever the case, unless such species develop an ability to cope with rising sea temperatures, restoring these reefs looks to be a long uphill struggle.

Read more HERE and HERE

Australian Geographic Society Makes Surprising Discoveries in the Mesophotic Zone

image: Davey Kline

An ocean expedition sponsored by the Australian Geographic Society has discovered two marine species never before described in Australia.

Doctoral student Tom Bridge, researcher Pim Bongaerts, and a team from the University of Queensland, James Cook University and the Queensland Museum, set out to explore the unmapped depths around atolls in the Coral Sea, beyond the Great Barrier Reef. To their amazement they found a Pygmy Seahorse Hippocampus denise and a coral Echinomorpha nishihirai previously thought to live only in shallow water.

The atolls under exploration rise up from extreme depths and are surrounded by deep oceanic water in the mesophotic zone, a region 30 to 150 metres below the surface, which scientists endearingly call the ‘twilight zone’ because little light penetrates that far down.

The discovery highlights just how little is known about the mesophotic zone. “We have only been able to sample a fraction of the diversity… there is a lot more out there,” Tom says.

Their new research also suggests that mesophotic zones may play an important role in shallow reef recovery by acting as refugia and providing larvae that can then repopulate shallower coral ecosystems after damage

Click HERE for more detail.

Superb SPS Available At CoralCulture

images courtesy of CoralCulture

As part of their ‘Superior Collection’ CoralCulture are currently offering some absolutely stunning, hand-picked SPS.

As shown in the images, these pieces really are exceptional in colouration and clearly in top condition having been sourced from the best suppliers worldwide.

We’ve had corals from this supplier in the past and have no hesitation in agreeing that these corals probably represent some of the best currently available within the UK. Don’t expect them to be around for long though! Click HERE to take a look!