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Wild Egypt - Red Sea Diving - 2


Wild Egypt! An On-Line Safari for all

 

 

Well, we made it into the water. Presented here is a collection of some of the more common animals found in the Red Sea, especially near the reefs. The Red Sea is a popular diving location, and many people come here each year to experience the beauty of this incredible area.


 

A typical sight near a Red Sea coral reef

 

 

A brightly colored Parrotfish shows off his (or her) colors for the camera

 

 

Here's a fish who spells trouble for the coral, though. But if you like white sandy beaches, you should thank him. Or her. With Parrotfish its often hard to tell, as they can switch from one gender to the other. The Parrotfish gets its name not only from its bright coloring, but also from its mouth, which is really a hard "beak" like that of a parrot. The Parrotfish uses this beak to grind away at coral, not to eat the polyp, but rather the algae that lives on the coral itself. The ground-up stony shell will eventually wash up on shore to add more sand to the beaches. When it comes to nature, everything is recycled in one way or another.

 

Not all of the Red Sea life stays in the sea all the time. This is a Ghost Crab. It is equally at home on the sandy beaches and in the sea, finding its food in the tide pools nearby. It makes its home in a burrow on the beach, and the conical mound of sand next to the burrow is a tell-tale sign of the Ghost Crab.

 

The Clown Fish swims unharmed through the Anemone's stinging tentacles

Very often, two very different animals will live side by side and help one another. This is called symbiosis. One of the most famous examples of symbiosis is that of the Clown or Anemone Fish and the Sea Anemone. The Anemone resembles a flower and has dozens of stinging tentacles that it uses to sting its food and drag it into its mouth. The Clown Fish, though, is immune to the stinging because of a coat of mucus on its body. The Anemone provides shelter and protection to the Clown Fish, and the Clown Fish, being a rather messy eater, provides free food for its living home.

 

The first things you'll notice are the brightly colored coral. Despite their appearance, these are not plants, but animals. Coral is made up of dozens to hundreds of tiny animals called polyps. The polyps build tough stony shells on the empty shells of dead polyps, and when they die, other polyps will build shells on top of theirs. The result is a coral reef, which provides shelter and food for many different species of fish and other sea life.

 

 

Thousands of tiny polyps make up these specimens of coral

 

Coral comes in all sizes and shapes. Some of it looks like beautiful flowers, while other species look like rocks, or pillars, or even coils of rope! The coral reefs are the key to life in the Red Sea. Without them, smaller fish would have no shelter, and larger fish would have no hunting grounds.

 

 

 

 

 

Down at the bottom on the sea bed can be found some very unusual creatures. One of these is the Blue-Spotted Stingray. Its body is flat and covered in blue spots, and its long tail tapers into a powerful stinger. Yet the Stingray, like all the other Rays found in the Red Sea, is a placid animal that feeds on tiny crustaceans called plankton, the same food source as the gigantic humpback whale.

 

 

The Coral Grouper swims about looking for dinner

 

Here's a pleasant face. The Coral, or Jewel, Grouper, is also known as the Blue-Spotted Grouper (there seem to be a lot of blue spots around here). At first, you might think that this would attract other fish that would want to eat it, but in the dim light that filters underwater, bright red becomes dark brown, and very hard to see.

 

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