Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marine Life in Malta

Malta has its own special niche in the diving industry in that it is has very varied topography crammed into one very small area.

Malta is well known for its wreck diving such as the Um el Faroud and the Maori, two wrecks you're almost guarenteed to dive if you come diving with us.

But it is less well known for its marine life. The wrecks act as an artificial reef to attract all sorts of wildlife. So I thought I’d share photos with you of some of the marine life we’ve seen around here recently.

Loads of fish tend to congregate around wrecks:

Mullet can be found on the shallow reefs, like on our house reef

as well as peacock wrasse

and flying gurnards

Theres squid

Grouper and fire worms can be found on the reef but prefer to hang out in wrecks and caves

a word to the wise ... these worms may look wierd but they certainly know how to protect themselves

There are Fan worms

Jellyfish. This one called the Mauve stinger has become very common around malta displacing the Cigar jellyfish that used to be common but is rarely seen now. This shift in dominant species is possibly as a result of sea temperature rise, the university is currently investigating things like this with the spot the jellyfish project.

Cuttle fish. On shallow reefs it is possible to come across juvenile cuttlefish hanging out on sand patches nearby posidonia. I was lucky to see one last october.

Scorpion Fish. These are hard to spot but once you've seen one you'll start seeing them all over rocks and wrecks. There are some large ones down at Beaufighter, if you want to see these up close and personal you'll need your deep speciality.

Theres lots of Morey eels about.

Often accompanied by cleaner shrimp.

Theres some brittle stars about among other species of starfish.

Plenty of Octopus if you know where to look.

And if your extra lucky you might just see one of Nev's seahorses ......

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