Monday, 16 February 2015 18:42

A Hitch Hikers Guide to the Reefs - Odds & Ends Featured

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hitchoddsbannerBy Charles & Linda Raabe
Mactan Island, The Philippines


     Cephalochordata -  Known as lancelets or as amphioxus (from the Greek for "both [ends] pointed.  Harmless sand bed dwelling animals that feed by taking in water through the mouth, which is drawn in by the beating of cilia located on the wheel organ, a set of ridges lying inside the mouth. The water is first filtered by the oral cirri, slender projections that surround the opening of the mouth.
 amphioxus   amphioxus1   amphioxus2

    Foraminiferans  - The branching white type are usualy mistaken for a sponge, if you look closely you can see what looks like thin hairs at the ends of the stalks, these are the Rhizpodia which collect food particles, they also can be red and are usualy only a single stubby branch no more than 1/4 inch tall, which at first led me to believe they were a type of branching coraline algae.  As you can see, this animal classification has many members which do not resemble each other much. Click on the link for a detailed article on this family group.

 foramwhite   foram4   foram   
 foram1   foram2   foram3

  SEA SPIDERS - Most that are found in our tanks are very small and difficult to see, they are little predators usualy having a specific prey species, most do not last long in our systems. Click on the link for a detailed article on this species.  Sea Spiders in the news.

  seaspider1   seaspider   seaspider2

  SYNAPTID SEA CUCUMBER  (medussa worms) -  Same Family as sea cucumbers, but does not have the "feet" that sea cucumbers do, I find a variety of this species in the grass beds here, all seem to be harmless detritus feeders, spending their day just mopping up the grass and rocks for organic matter. 

  medussa1   medussa2   medussa3  medussa4   medussa5   medussa6

  SEA CUCUMBERS- Its all but impossible to get a species specific ID on any but the most popular species that are offered for sale. From time to time you may find one that has hitch hiked in on some live rock or even sand. All of which can be considered harmless detritus feeders and should pose no problem as long as certain safe guards are in place to prevent their being harmed by pump inlets.

  cukehitch   cukeodd2   seaapple
    CTENOPHORES -  I have only ever found or seen this creature living on the undersides of leather corals, it is very transparent and usualy only the very long stringy feathery feeding aparatus is noticed as it waves outstretched into the currents. Harmless filter feeder and will do no harm to the corals it hides under.
  ctenophore   ctenophore1   ctenophore2

   HYDROIDS-  They can be found in many sizes and forms, some as individuals, some as colonial groups. They do not make welcome tank guests due to their strong stinging abilities and rapid population growths. While some of the larger types can be combatted through physical removal, its all but impossible to remove the very small species, thankfully though most will die off as their food sources are consumed, can be nerve wracking to wait for that to happen though.

  Hydroid   Hydroid1   hydroid2  hydroid5   hydroid6   hydroid7  hydroid8   hydroid9   hydroid10  hydroid14   hydroid15   hydroid16  hydroid17   hydroid18   hydroid19

  JELLYFISH - and their Schyphostome reproductive polyps which will bud off small jellyfish. The polyps are reported to able to inflict a very nasty sting with their nematocysts, so be careful in handling them. They are also extremely difficult to eradicate. Most hobbyist confuse the structures for hydroids when in fact there are numerous species of jellyfish which reproduce in this anchored polyp form. 
Jellyfish reproduction shown in the below series of six photos, which results in a free swimming Cassiopeia andromeda 
  hydroid4   jelly5   jelly6  jelly2   jelly3   jelly4

     Jellyfish Schyphostome (reproductive polyps)
  Stephanoscyphus   jellypolyp1    The Jellyfish  Cladonema sp.
  jelly1   jelly7   jelly8 

   CLAMS - These tend to be a very frequent find on live rock and for the most part, do well in a reef tank, all of which are harmless phytoplanktonic feeders.

      Below: A member of the 
Arciidae family
  brachiopodhitch   brachiopodhitch1   brachiopodhitch2     Various other species:
  clamhitch   clamhitch1   clamhitch2  limidae   clamhitch3   clamhitch4     swimming file clam in the family Limidae

    BARNACLES - Not a commonly found animal as they do not seem to do well over the long term in most systems. Both species shown have attached to corals, the first, causing no real harm, the second though is large enough to suppress the coral polyp and will most likely be a stress factor. While a few small species seems to cause the coral no harm, I would imagine if they were able to breed prolifically in an enclosed system they could start to cause coral health issues. Overall though, a harmless filter feeding and interesting to watch as they fan the water in an open/close motion while being able to turn the fan at will to take advantage of differing water currents.

 barnacle   barnacleinvade   barnaclelarvae 

All content and photographs are CopyRight Protected

and may not be used ,copied or reproduced elsewhere
without permission of the authors.

Used by permission.  Many thanks to Charlies and Linda Raabe for their support.

Read 2548 times Last modified on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 02:17
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