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Marine Life

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A tubed anemone provides the photographer with a
soft contrast to the hard coral overhang above

© Lonely Planet Publications

Marine Life
Schools of barracuda are common and
can be seen at many sites

to the next known (and less specific)
level: Family (F), Order (O), Class (C) and
Phylum (P).
For real animal knowledge it is best
to choose one animal and observe it
closely. It is too easy to try to look at
everything at once. A slate is a very
good way of remembering shapes or
colour patterns.
The vertebrates (animals with backbones) in the photographs below show
some of the most common members of
the major families. Use these shapes as
the basis of your slate diagrams.
Invertebrates are animals that have
no backbone at any time of their life. Invertebrates are by far the most diverse
animals seen anywhere, especially
underwater. The photographs below
show the major groups and their evolutionary sequence of development and
complexity.

The GBR (and additionally the tropical
coral reefs to the near north) is one of
the few places you can see representatives from almost every group of animal
on the planet – and many you won’t see
anywhere else. The greatest challenge is
to identify and name these millions of
animals so other divers know what you
are talking about.
The system biologists use to differentiate one critter from another is
known as binomial nomenclature – the
method of using two words (usually
shown in italics) to identify an organism. The second word is the species,
which is the finest detail name for an
animal, and refers to organisms that can
only breed with other members of the
same species. The first italic word is the
genus, into which members of similar
species are grouped. Where the species
or genus is unknown, the naming goes
135

136 Marine Life

whale shark
Rhincodon typus

Marine Life 137

leopard shark
Stegostoma fasciatum

whitetip reef shark
Triaenodon obesus

spotfin lionfish
Pterois antennata

Photo: John Barnett

grey reef shark
Carcharhinus
amblyrhyncos

scalloped hammerhead
shark
Sphyrna lewini

potato cod
Epinephelus tukula

coral trout
Plectropomus leopardus

Photo: John Barnett

tassled wobbegong
Eucrossorhinus dasypogon

redthroat sweetlip
Lethrinus miniatus

yellowfin goatfish
Mulloidichthys vanicolensis

longfin bannerfish
Heniochus acuminatus

Photo: Phil Woodhead

cowtail ray
Pastinachus sephen

manta ray
Manta birostris

giant moray eel
Gymnothorax javanicus

beaked coralfish
Chelmon rostratus

blue angelfish
Pomacan...
135
The GBR (and additionally the tropical
coral reefs to the near north) is one of
the few places you can see representa-
tives from almost every group of animal
on the planet – and many you won’t see
anywhere else. The greatest challenge is
to identify and name these millions of
animals so other divers know what you
are talking about.
The system biologists use to dif-
ferentiate one critter from another is
known as binomial nomenclature – the
method of using two words (usually
shown in italics) to identify an organ-
ism. The second word is the species,
which is the finest detail name for an
animal, and refers to organisms that can
only breed with other members of the
same species. The first italic word is the
genus, into which members of similar
species are grouped. Where the species
or genus is unknown, the naming goes
to the next known (and less specific)
level: Family (F), Order (O), Class (C) and
Phylum (P).
For real animal knowledge it is best
to choose one animal and observe it
closely. It is too easy to try to look at
everything at once. A slate is a very
good way of remembering shapes or
colour patterns.
The vertebrates (animals with back-
bones) in the photographs below show
some of the most common members of
the major families. Use these shapes as
the basis of your slate diagrams.
Invertebrates are animals that have
no backbone at any time of their life. In-
vertebrates are by far the most diverse
animals seen anywhere, especially
underwater. The photographs below
show the major groups and their evolu-
tionary sequence of development and
complexity.
Marine Life
A tubed anemone provides the photographer with a
soft contrast to the hard coral overhang above
Schools of barracuda are common and
can be seen at many sites
© Lonely Planet Publications
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