Diversity of Fish and Marine Life on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

Cuttlefish, sponges, fish, ascidians, bryozoans, molluscs and algae have all been recorded on the ex-HMAS Adelaide in the 20 months since it was sunk on the 13th April 2011. Monitoring being conducted by Worley Parsons and Cardno Ecology Lab, on behalf of the NSW Government, has occurred on 4 occasions, with another 4 monitoring events to occur in the next 12 months.

The government monitoring has detected overall 32 species of fish, with a maximum of 19 fish species at a single monitoring event. Additionally, information gleaned from the internet, and personal observations have detected an additional 15 fish species, bringing the total fish diversity of the ex-HMAS Adelaide to 47 species so far. Additionally, a Blind Shark has been recorded resting under the ships bell.

HMAS Adelaide Fish Species – click image to see photos

Fish Species Detected on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

Acanthuridae
Pencil Surgeon Fish (Acanthurus dussumieri)¨
Pale Surgeonfish  (Acanthurus mata)¨

Aplodactylidae
Rock Cale (Aplodactylus lophodon)²

Aulopidae
Sergeant baker (Aulopus purpurrissatus)¹

Blenniidae
Horned Blenny (Parablennius intermedius)°
Sabretooth blenny (Petroscirtes lupus)¹

Carangidae
Yellowtail scad (Trachurus novaezelandiae)¹
Yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi)¹

Chaetodontidae
Schooling bannerfish (Heniochus diphreutes)¨¹
Gunther’s Butterflyfish (Chaetodon guentheri)¨

Cheilodactylidae
Blue morwong (Nemadactylus douglasii)¹
Red morwong (Cheilodactylus fuscus)¹

Chironemidae
Kelpfish (Chironemus marmoratus)°

Cirrhitidae
Blotched Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys aprinus)°

Dinolestidae
Longfin pike (Dinolestes leweni)¹

Enoplosidae
Old wife (Enoplosus armatus)¹

Ephippidae
Batfish (Platax sp.)¹

Fistulariidae
Smooth Flutemouth (Fistularia commersonii)¨

Kyphosidae
Silver drummer (Kyphosus sydneyanus)¹

Labridae
Eastern blue groper (Achoerodus viridis)¹
Brown spotted wrasse (Notolabrus parilus)¹
Crimson banded wrasse (Notolabrus gymnogenis)¹

Latrididae
Bastard trumpeter (Latridopsis forsteri)¹

Lutjanidae
Silver trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)¹

Microcanthidae
Mado (Atypicthys strigatus)¹
Stripey (Microcanthus strigatus)¹

Monacanthidae
Chinaman leatherjacket (Nelusetta ayraudi)¹
Yellowfin leatherjacket (Meuschenia trachylepis)¹
Unidentified leatherjacket (Meuschenia sp.)¹
Sixspine Leatherjacket (Meuschenia freycineti)²
Mosaic Leatherjacket (Eubalichthys mosaicus)²

Moridae
Beardie – Lotella rhacina²

Mullidae
Blackspot goatfish (Parupeneus spilurus)¹

Platycephalidae
Dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus)¹

Plesiopidae
Eastern Hulafish (Trachinops taeniatus)²

Plotosidae
Estuary Catfish – Cnidoglanis macrocephalus

Pomacentridae
White ear (Parma microlepis)¹
Girdled scalyfin (Parma unifasciata)¹

Scorpaenidae
Eastern fortesque (Centropogon australis)¹
Red rock cod (Scorpaena cardinalis)¹

Scorpididae
Silver sweep (Scorpis lineolata)¹

Serranidae
Half-banded sea perch (Hypoplectrodes maccullochi)¹

Sparidae
Silver Bream (Acanthopagrus australis)²
Snapper (Pagrus auratus)¹
Tarwhine (Rhabdosargus sarba)¹

Synanceiidae
Synanceia sp.²

Tetraodonitdae
Three-bar porcupinefish (Dicotlichthys punctulatus)¹

Sharks and Rays

Brachaeluridae
Blind Shark (Brachaelurus waddi)°

Non-fish species recorded on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

One of the most spectacular species found on the ex-HMAS Adelaide is the Giant Cuttlefish which the largest cuttlefish in the world. Their colour varies from yellow, through to deep purple and I have seen one that was over 500mm long.

Adelaide Cuttlefish 15-4-12

Giant Cuttlefish on the ex-HMAS Adelaide by Matt Dowse, Flickr

I saw a lone Gloomy Octopus in the cut-off sections one of the masts and there are lots of yellow and purple Magnificent Botrylloides along the deck handrails and main mast struts.

Gloomy Octopus

Gloomy Octopus, by Richard Ling, Flickr

Molluscs
Giant Cuttlefish (Sepia apama)²³
Gloomy Octopus (Octopus tetricus)˜

Crustaceans
Hinge-back Shrimp (Rhynchocinetes serratus)°

Bryozoans
Hornea foliacea¹
Biflustra perfragilis¹

Ascidians
Magnificent Ascidian (Botrylloides magnicoecum)¹
Botrylloides leachi¹
Herdmania momus¹

Anemones & Corals
Anthothoe albocincta – White Striped Anemone¹

Algae
Ecklonia radiata – Common seaweed¹

Marine life not yet recorded on the ex-HMAS Adelaide

There is a large variety of marine life yet to be recorded and/or to inhabit the Ex-HMAS Adelaide. The official government monitoring and internet sources have yet to record the following groups of animals as occurring on the ex-HMAS Adelaide:

Sea spiders
Non-bony fishes:  Sharks and Rays
Anglerfishes
Gobies
Seahorses, Sea dragons and pipefish
Surgeonfishes
Reptiles:  Sea snakes and turtles
Moray eels
Starfish and Urchins
Flatworms
Nudibranchs and Cowries
and, Worms.

Although there have been sponges recorded in the government reports, a lot more work has to be done to identify these organisms to the species level.

However, I’m sure within the diving community there are many who have recorded other species occurring on the ex-HMAS Adelaide that I have not listed and I’d really like to add to the above list. If you would like to contribute to the list please contact me.

 

Sources
¹ Cardno – Reef Community Monitoring Report, August 2012
² YouTube Videos – DukeCBR600, Jo Edney and Graeme Lehman, John Marshall, Martyn Weber, shadycontrast
Rob Anthony
³ Flickr – MattD71, Richard Ling
˜ Personal Observation
° Websites
¨ Facebook
Muddy Puddle Diver (Scott Hunt – an excellent website for Central Coast marine life)
Matt Dowse – excellent photographer and winner of the ex-HMAS Adelaide photographic competition
Thierry Rakotoarivelo – excellent marine life photos
NSW Fishes – Information about many commercial and recreational fish in NSW
GFCAttacks YouTube Video – Great video showing the marine life (particularly of the Ascidians Herdmania momus) of the ex-HMAS Adelaide 12 months post scuttling.
Dive Buzz – great photos of the marine life of the ex-HMAS Adelaide taken by Howard Womersley

 

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