Found off the south coast of South Africa.
Live in deep water to depths of 150m, but occasionally also seen inshore in shallow water.
Named for their habit of ‘shovelling’ through sediment in search of worms and molluscs.
Grow to 25cm.
These black needle urchins are armed with spines, which they wave menacingly at intruders. Although they look sinister, they eat algae which they graze off the rocks.
Rough pencil urchin
Like other sea urchins, the rough pencil urchin belongs to the phylum Echinodermata.
All sea urchins are covered with spines (hence their name: ‘Echino’ means spiny and ‘derm’ means skin) which move on ball and socket joints. They use the spines to defend themselves against predators.
Pencil urchins have large heavy spines which are often sold as ornaments. The spines are initially purple but they usually get covered with algae so the colour is hidden except at the base.
Alikreukel (giant turban)
Slow-growing herbivorous sea snail belonging to the class Gastropoda. Gastropods have a large foot on top of which are the body organs which include the gut, reproductive organs, the blood system, heart and kidney.
Found in intertidal pools up to depths of about 8m. They are able to close their shells with a lid to prevent water loss.
Although common, it is not easy to find large individuals except in marine reserves.
There are restrictions on collecting these animals: 5 per day per person; minimum size 63.5mm.
Polychaetes are segmented worms that are some of the most common and diverse creatures found along our shores. Almost 800 species occur in southern Africa. They vary in size and some species can grow up to 1meter in length. Many of the species are burrowing worms. We’ve created a special artificial burrow for this worm so that it is easier for us to keep an eye on him and for you to see what he’s up to.
Tube anemones have soft bodies that are enclosed in a protective mucous tube, which the anemones bury in soft sand or mud.
Longhorn cowfish grow to a maximum size of 45cm. They occur at depths of up to 100m. Their bodies are enclosed in an “armour” of fused bony scales and they have two prominent horns protruding above their eyes. Longhorn cowfish are commonly found in harbours and estuaries.
Convict surgeons are found on shallow inshore reefs, in rock pools and around sheltered wharfs and jetties where seaweeds and algae are plentiful.
Sea goldies live in and around coral reefs in warm tropical oceans. These beautiful little fish are often seen in large shoals and add splashes of colour to the reef.
Look carefully and see if you can spot the differences between males and females.
Females are orange-gold with a blue stripe below the eye and males are reddish with an extended third dorsal spine.
Sex change on the reef
Many fishes have the ability to change sex. This is a strategy to maximise reproductive output. Some change from male to female while others change from female to male such as sea goldies.
This is the dominant reproductive style on coral reefs. On these reefs there is intense competition for the best spawning sites and large dominant males set up territories which are defended against all other males. The larger the male, the bigger his territory and the more females he will attract to spawn with. In this way millions of eggs can be fertilised by a single male. Smaller fish cannot compete for these sites so they remain female until they are large enough to compete and the opportunity arises.
Zebra moray eel
Zebra moray eels live on reefs in warm tropical oceans | Two Oceans Aquarium
Floral moray eel
Floral moray eels live in the Indo-West Pacific, the Red Sea and the Western Indian Ocean from Oman to East London.
Geometric moray eel
Geometric moray eels are found on coral reefs in the Red Sea and the Western Indian Ocean, south of the Eastern Cape.