When the Walls are Orange

AvatarBy Richard Aspinall 4 months ago
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I’ve more or less finished editing my pictures from a recent trip to the Mediterranean and have just a few more sets of images to share. I think these pictures show a particularly impressive community of animals; they have turned a simple rock wall into a stunning display of the very brightest orange. The main species in these photographs is, I believe, the common zoanthid, Parazoanthus axinellae. As you can see it is just a little colorful! However, bright artificial lighting is necessary-I have bright flashguns that allow me to reveal these colors. 

various species of sponge are present here. including Yellow Tube Sponge (Verongia aerophoba)

 This and related Parazoanthus species are found below the twenty-meter mark in the Med on rocky walls and under overhangs, where they can avoid being overthrown by light-dependent algae. 

An interesting shot showing a shoal of Chromis chromis. In the foreground you can see where daylight reaches the rocks. a certain amount of light also reaches the wall in the very top of the image allowing some algae to grow, such as the green Udotea petiolata

 P. axinellae looks a bit like one of the species of cup coral that grows in the region, but it doesn’t deposit calcium. Nor does it exist as a solitary animal (as many cup corals do), in fact you can see that individuals are connected by mat like tissue knowns a coenenchyme. 
Whilst the zoanthid may be most obvious animal in these pictures, it is not the only creature of note. Sponges are very common and where a little light manages to reach, there may be coralline algae and even a few green algae specimens growing amongst the zoanthids.

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  Invertebrates, Photography
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About

 Richard Aspinall

  (315 articles)

Richard lives in Scotland where he works as a freelance writer and photographer. Richard writes for several magazines on topics as diverse as scuba diving, travel and wildlife.

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