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Marine Life

 

Malaysia's Borneo is one of the top dive destinations of the world. The Island of Borneo is located in the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, which is the heart of the world's richest marine biodiversity area, where scientists believe the marine life of the Pacific Ocean evolved.

From macro organismsto large pelagics, wrecks diving to wall dives, rich and diversified coral gardens teeming with colourful fishes and nudibranchs, underwater caves where sharks seek recluse and caverns of the turtles' final resting place...Borneo diving has it all and then some. Only a handful of diving sites in the world can offer such varieties in one diving holiday under one destination.

Sipadan, Mabul & Kapalai Islands as well as Layang Layang Atoll are the most popular and well known dive destinations. Then of course we have others equally fascinating destinations such as Lankayan, Mataking and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park amongst others.

 



Nudibranchs (pronounced as NU-DI-BRANKS)
Nudibranchs are shell-less marine mollusks. Some 6,000 species live in disparate habitats all over the world, from shallow reefs to two miles beneath the sea surface. Most carry their exposed gills on their backs, a feature reflected in the order's name, Nudibranchia, Latin for "naked gill". Nudis, as they're often called, tend to be brightly colored, with patterns that call to mind rainbow-hued marzipan or psychedelic black-light posters. In the animal kingdom this kind of coloration is a signal to potential predators (though not to other nudis, which can discern only light and dark) that a meal may be distasteful or even deadly. Nudis are famously resourceful, stealing defenses from their prey and refashioning them for their own use. Hydroids and coral, for example, are equipped with nematocysts tiny stinging cells that nudis pilfer and then incorporate into their own self-defense system. They neutralize the adult cells, while the immature cells migrate to the tips of the nudis' dorsal structures (called cerata), where they will sting any sea creature curious enough to take a bite. Nudis can also eat toxic sponges and other sea animals without suffering harmful consequences; they chemically alter the toxins, turning them into secretions they can use against predators. Despite their large arsenal, however, these naked slugs, roughly the size of your index finger can make a quick snack for sea stars, turtles, people, and even other nudis.

Nudibranchs Are What They Eat
You can tell what many nudibranchs eat by looking at them they range from brightly colored to colorless to match their prey. The species Phyllodesmium iriomotense, for example, has a translucent body, revealing branching internal organs that mimic the willowy soft coral it preys on. Some nudis resemble clumps of greenish-brown plants, thanks to tiny single-celled algae living inside their bodies. These photosynthesizing zooxanthellae, obtained from the coral that nudis feed on, are stockpiled in the nudis' cerata (dorsal structures) and sustained by regular amounts of sunlight. This creats a built-in greenhouse, with the plants' sugar byproducts giving nudis energy.

Nudibranch Mating
All nudibranchs are hermaphrodites, organisms that contain both male and female reproductive organs. During mating, partners fertilize each other so that both become pregnant and lay millions of eggs. The new born have molluscan shll for protection but quickly shed it. Nudibranches live a single year.

Evolutionary Success
Even though they have only a few brain cells, they all look like they're dressed up going to a party. They look like they are where they want to be. And that is the success of evolutionary adaptations.

Bibliography: Behrens, David W. Nudibranch Behavior. New Worl Publications, 2005.
Photo credit : Mabul Borneo Diver Resort.

Borneo, the must-dive destination for scuba divers !

All this, can be found in Mecca of Diving in Borneo.