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18, Feb, 2008

Muck Dive in Kan Tiang Bay – Spotting the Shrimpfish

Posted in House-Reef Macro ID Project, Research Projects by yantiii

It was my second dive on the House Reef at Kan Tiang Bay and I was on a mission to spot a robust ghost pipefish in the muck of the bay. We set off at 11.30 am and blessed with the high tide we managed to swim easily all the way around the right hand corner and descended new the rocky outcrop right underneath Top View Resort. We spotted so many different species of nudibranchs (all of them I have never seen before), so we were really pleased with the dive.  Nonetheless, I was still on a mission to find a robust ghost pipefish. 50 minutes into the dive, I spotted the first scorpionfish for the day resting on the edge of rock formation close to the sandy bottom. Beside it was a small cove and to my delight I turned around to see 2 ‘robust ghost pipefish’ – one about 8 centimeters long and the other one a tiny 1 centimeters long and 0.5 centimeters in width. Of course I screamed with joy and we spent the next 40 minutes photographing it. However, not to my dismay though, the species was later IDed to be Coral Shrimpfish (Amphisile srigata) , visually distinguished by the hinged part of the dorsal fin. It is pale with black stripe variation and lives on the open sand. Another variation of the species is greenish-yellow with diffused stripe in sea grass environment. The shrimpfish swims vertically with its head downward. Its body is thin and wafer like, and feeds on tiny swimming invertebrates with its long jaws. So, even though I did not complete my mission on the robust ghost pipe fish, finding the tiniest juvenile Coral Shrimpfish diving in Kan Tiang Bay was pretty special. Until the next muck dive!!

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