Saltwater Crocodiles surf Ocean Currents

September 6, 2010

Saltwater_esturine_crocodileWith the exception of a Great White, or possibly an Oceanic White-tip (on a bad day), nothing terrifies me more than the prospect of meeting a 20ft (6m) Saltwater ‘Estuarine’ Crocodile out in the open Ocean. And apparently that’s not as unlikely as I would have hoped for!

Despite being poor swimmers, researchers have discovered that the saltwater crocodile (also known as estuarine) commonly travels long distances over open oceans by riding ocean currents. The discovery, published in Journal of Animal Ecology, solves an unknown mystery of why saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are found across vast distance in the Pacific, yet have not diverged into different species.

Researchers tracked 27 adult saltwater crocodiles for one year using tags and sonar transmitters. The tagging showed that crocodile individuals, both male and female, regularly traveled more than 50 kilometers from their local rivers into the open sea. One crocodile traveled 590 kilometers in 25 days; another traveled 411 kilometers in 20 days.

The saltwater crocodile’s range extends from India to Fiji and from southern China to northern Australia. They are the world’s largest crocodile species.

From Mongabay.com

Oh man, bring out the cello….

Having read this article I decided to read-up on where in the world precisely I might have a chance of bumping in to (or more like becoming a light snack of) one of these huge ocean-going beasts. Here’s what I found:

estuarine_crocodile_map

perhaps not so surprising that they frequent the region of the planet with the largest bio-diversity – and even less surprising that my number 1 must-see diving destination (planned for 2012) is PNG and is a veritable hot spot for the buggers! Great :(

Photos: The Amazing Sunfish in Bali

July 24, 2008

The sunfish is the largest and most fertile bony fish in the world. It is also the wierdest looking fish you’re ever likely to see.

Some sharks (such as the whale shark and great white) can grow larger, but these are cartilaginous fish, rather than bony fish. Sunfish can produce massive numbers of eggs: one female caught off Florida was carrying 300 million eggs. This makes the cane toad look quite modest, producing a mere 60,000 eggs per clutch.

Sunfish tend to lie on their side close to the surface of the ocean, appearing to bask in the warmth of the sun, say researchers at the Large Pelagic Research Lab at the University of New Hampshire. They may be ‘thermally recharging’ after diving to depths where their bodies have been significantly cooled by the deep water.

From ABC Australia: Read more

Giant sea creatures discovered in Antarctica

April 1, 2008

tunicates
Researchers aboard the Aurora Australis, an Australian vessel, have discovered a trove of strange creatures on the sea floor near East Antarctica.

Some of the video footage we have collected is really stunning — it’s amazing to be able to navigate undersea mountains and valleys and actually see what the animals look like in their undisturbed state,” said Aurora Australis voyage leader Dr Martin Riddle.

“In some places every inch of the sea floor is covered in life. In other places we can see deep scars and gouges where icebergs scour the sea floor as they pass by. Gigantism is very common in Antarctic waters — we have collected huge worms, giant crustaceans and sea spiders the size of dinner plates.

From Mongabay.com. Read more here