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Say the word lobster and you will likely get a variety of reactions ranging from kids who smile from thinking about some of their favorite cartoon characters to adults whose mouths water thinking about a culinary treat. Still others might cringe, thinking of lobsters as strange sea creatures. In many reef communities around the world lobsters are among the more conspicuous invertebrates and, as a result, many experienced divers naturally think back to a favorite diving memory when they saw, photographed, caught or tried to catch a lobster. Commercial fishermen often call some species of lobsters “red money,” a reference to the body color of several commercial species and the fact that a good haul can yield a pot full of cash.

We’ll take a look into the natural history and some of the nuances of the secret lives of a group of creatures whose common names include terms such as spiny, hairy, slipper, elegant, regal, rock, emerald, banded, red-banded, Maine and American.

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You’ve heard the adage, “Use it or lose it!” There is a lot of truth in that. In Open Water class you learn just enough to get you out there diving safely in the environment in which you were trained. Then the learning process continues; experience and continuing education are great teachers.

But if you don’t follow up and begin using those newly acquired skills within a reasonable time, they deteriorate and eventually disappear. The scuba unit removal and replacement skill is a good example. If you don’t occasionally practice it, your ability to perform it effectively will diminish substantially.

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The Ribbon Eel

Ribbon eels are thought to be ‘protandric hermaphrodites’, meaning they are born male and change sex to female. The change in gender occurs as the Ribbon eel reaches full size (approximately 1 metre/3 feet). Not only are they able to change sex, but they are also able to change colour. The Ribbon eel is the only moray eel species know to be able to do so. When a male Ribbon eel becomes female, it changes colour from blue to yellow.

Deep Sea Anglerfish

Female Deep Sea Anglerfish have an extremely interesting relationship with the males of the same species. During mating the male bites the side of the female, they then become fused to the female even sharing the same bloodstream! The male begins to disintegrate and becomes a small parasitic ‘growth’ on the female fish. This is beneficial to the female as they can use the male to fertilise their eggs whenever they chose. Females have been seen with up to six males on their body at one time!

Bdelloid Rotifers

Bdelloid Rotifers have no need for males or mating at all. Every Bdelloid Rotifer found has always been female. Scientific studies have confirmed that Bdelloid Rotifers do not mate to produce young, instead the females ‘clone’ themselves and produce daughters that are genetically the same as they are.

Oysters

Oysters can change sex multiple times during their lifetime. Like Ribbon eels, they are ‘protandric hermaphrodites’, born as males and changing to females as they age. In their first year they are males and release sperm in the water to spawn. After two to three years, they change to female and spawn by releasing eggs into the water. Female oysters can produce an astounding 100 MILLION eggs in just one year. Because oysters’ reproductive systems contain both eggs and sperm, it is actually possible for an oyster to fertilise its own egg.

The Tripod Fish

Tripod Fish are asexual, meaning they possess both male and female reproductive organs. This amazing evolutionary development means Tripod Fish are able to reproduce even the absence of a partner. Due to their often solitary existence, Tripod Fish can self-fertilise by spawning both sperm and eggs into the water column. If they are able to find a mate, one will deposit sperm and the other eggs into the water column

Nudibranchs

female marine animals - Nudibranch
Like the Tripod fish, Nudibranchs have both female and male reproductive organs. During mating, both the Nudibranchs will play female and male roles in fertilisation simultaneously. Unlike Tripod Fish, Nudibranchs can’t self-fertilise but, during mating, partners fertilise each other so that both become pregnant and lay eggs. Nudibranch can lay millions of eggs at any one time!

 

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Of all the things an animal could eat, corals are arguably one of the toughest, thanks to their thin, mucus-covered flesh packed with venomous stinging cells spread over a razor-sharp skeleton. Perhaps that explains why of the more than 6,000 fish species that live on the reef, only 128 are known to feed on corals. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on June 5 have discovered how at least one species of coral-feeding fish does it. They "kiss" the flesh and mucus off the coral skeleton using protective, self-lubricating lips.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Now that a cannon that rested in waters off Rhode Island’s shore for two centuries has been raised, U.S. Navy archaeologists are hoping to confirm that the ship that sank at the site was a schooner commanded by a War of 1812 hero.

In thick fog and heavy swells, the USS Revenge became ensnared in a reef off Watch Hill in Westerly in 1811. Oliver Hazard Perry ordered his men to jettison guns, masts and the anchor, but lightening the vessel didn’t free it. It sank.

The treacherous reefs, rocks and poor visibility kept the cannon and other artifacts hidden until 2005.

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U/W Bike Race

eventsiconJoin us on July 4th for this annual event benefitting the Children's Mile of Hope.

Lionfish Tournament

eventsiconWe need your help to make Carteret County's 5th Annual "If you Can't Beat 'em, Eat 'em" Spearfishing Tournament a success! This Tournament is a joint effort between Discovery Diving and Eastern Carolina Artificial Reef Association (ECARA).

Treasure Hunt

eventsiconFood, prizes, diving, and fun! Proceeds benefit the Mile Hope Children's Cancer Fund and DAN's research in diving safety.

ECARA Event

2013Join us June 3rd, 2017 in support of the East Carolina Artificial Reef Association.  Click here for more info on this great event and how you can help to bring more Wrecks to the Graveyard of the Atlantic.