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Phone: +61 7 3259 2350 - Fax: +61 7 3259 2399

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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Living Reef unveils amazing hidden creatures

Redheaded Gobi
Daydream Island’s Living Reef has become home to some fascinating creatures, which are rarely seen without close investigation and shows the diversity of life in the resort’s iconic lagoon system.

Living Reef manager John Gaskell has recently uncovered creatures in the lagoons including the Redheaded Goby, Brittle Star, Snapping Shrimp, Squat Lobster and the Orange Spot Mantis Shrimp.

“As we continue to develop and maintain the lagoons we often discover new species we didn’t know we had,” Mr Gaskell said.

“Many of these are found living in the live rock and corals and most likely came in as juveniles and have managed to thrive. This shows the health of the lagoon system.”

Live rock has been collected under permit and transferred to the Living Reef over a number of years. Live rock is generally made up of the calcium carbonate skeleton of previously living coral. When the coral dies hundreds of microorganisms inhabit the structure, many of which are juveniles or in their larval stage.

“We’ve discovered the amazing Orange Spot Mantis Shrimp, one of the most incredible species of the marine world and something very colourful to look at which is now on display in the Living Reef Centre.”

Some of the recently discovered inhabitants found in the Living Reef include:

Redheaded Goby - Rarely seen species of goby that hides within coral reef habitats.

Coral (Trapezia) Crabs - These crabs are from the same crab family which includes species that live within Stony Corals. They feed on the tissue of the coral that they live within and with defend their coral home from other predators.

Porcelain Crab - Tiny crab with relatively unknown life history, found within coral reefs.

Brittle Star
Brittle Star - A relative of star fishes and sea urchins that can move arms independently and walk relatively fast along the ocean floor. Rarely seen during the day as they are nocturnal.

Squat Lobster - A relative of hermit crabs that does not use a sea snail shell for protection. Instead squat lobsters are excellent at hiding and can move in extremely fast bursts when threatened.

Snapping Shrimp – An amazing little shrimp with a large ‘snapping’ claw that can be opened and shut with incredible force creating a loud snapping sound. The force of the claw snapping shut generates acoustic pressures that can be heard throughout the coral reef habitat it lives in.

Orange Spot Mantis Shrimp
Orange Spot Mantis Shrimp - Mantis shrimp have the most complex eyes known to science. They have two rotating eyes that are the equivalent of six human eyes and can even see in ultra violet. Human eyes can detect a combination of three colours (red, green and blue), whereas the mantis shrimp’s eyes can detect 12, nine of which humans cannot even comprehend. To catch its prey the Orange Spot Mantis Shrimp has two smashing clubs that replace a regular shrimp’s claws. The speed at which a mantis shrimp punches out its smashing club is thought to be the fastest mechanical acceleration of any animal. It is so fast, that the impact produces cavitation bubbles - creating even more pressure.

The Living Reef is one of the world's largest man-made living coral reef lagoons. It is home to more than 140 species of colourful marine fish, 82 species of coral and 15 species of invertebrates such as starfish, sea cucumbers and crabs.

Comprising a north and south lagoon and holding more than 1.5 million litres of water, the Living Reef lets visitors learn about and get up close to the fascinating inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef.

ENDS media enquiries to Brenton Gibbs 0419 828440 

Pictures: John Gaskell

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