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Trip Report June 2011 - Wakatobi's gourmet menu
Report from Wakatobi Dive Centre
Wakatobi Reef Scene - Steve Miller
Every single living creature on the reef needs to eat. Predators and prey live alongside each other and marine
animals must compete for their food resources. This amazing survival game, ruled by the hierarchy of the food
chain fascinates divers when they come to such a bio-diverse ecosystem as Wakatobi.
Wakatobi's reefs are a model of diversity, yet there are no dominant species with obesity problems! The myriad marine
creatures have varying and balancing diets, in what is obviously a very equilibrated ecosystem. Let's take a look at
whats on Wakatobi's gourmet menu this month.
Tube Worms - Richard Smith
The feeding grounds offer a wide variety of dishes. It all starts with the autotrophs, such as macro algae and weeds,
which are at the base of the food chain and produce their own food via photosynthesis.
Damselfish Juv. Yellowtail - Ken Knezick
The Heterotrophes include all the other organisms that cannot make their own food. This group includes virtually
all animals living on the reef - they must consume plants, others animals, or the wastes of other organisms.
Wakatobi Reef Scene - Frank Owens
Parrotfish - James Watt
Herbivores, such as damselfish or parrotfish feed primarily or exclusively on plants.
Clown Triggerfish - Doug Richardson
Carnivores feed on other live animals, from coral polyps to moluscs and fish. Good examples of carnivores include
a large number of the wrasse family, triggerfishes and lots of stingrays.
Barracuda Brass Striped - Richard Smith
The Piscivores feed primarily on fish - they are the hunters of the sea, like the barracuda and groupers.
Frogfish - Steve Miller
Piscivores also include the 'ambush predators' like the scorpionfish and the 'anglers' like the frogfish.
Some, like the angelfish, pufferfish and turtles are Omnivores, which means they can feed on both plants and
animals. Turtles enjoy a diet of on sponges, algae and on jellyfish.
Pufferfish - Doug Richardson
Pufferfish are also Omnivores, feeding on both invertebrates and algae.
Robust Sea Cucumber - Eric Cheng
Some marine animals like animal and plant waste, or decaying organic matter and they are known as Detritivores, a
group which includes sea cucumbers, spaghetti worms and some crustaceans.
Tunicates - Steve Miller
Tunicates, clams and sponges are amongst the numerous Filter feeders which feed by 'filtering' organic
particulate matter and food particles from the water column.
Colonial cup coral - Steve Miller
Some Anthias and corals are what are known as Planktivores - they feed on zooplankton, or small organisms
suspended or drifting in the currents. Corals often extend their tentacles at night, to capture food with
the aid of their stinging tentacles or 'nematocysts'.
Golden Batfish with Isopods - Richard Smith
And finally Parasites are creatures which live off another organism, taking food from the host and not giving
anything of benefit in return, like for example the parasitic isopods.
Bigeye - Carlos Villoch
In the marine ecosystem, not everybody is eating at the same time. The diurnal species are active during daylight
hours, and seek refuge in protected areas of the reef at night, whereas nocturnal species, such as moray eels,
squirrelfish, bigeyes, lionfish animate our night dives, mainly feeding under the cover of the darkness.
Christmas Tree Worms - Frank Owens
The activity in low-light hours of dawn and dusk make life on the reef an amazing theater at anytime of the day or
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