Moonlight Meander – a night time tour of tidal pools at Gericke’s Point.

The Greatness of Small Creatures.

All things Great and Small, we saw them all last night on the Moonlight Meander.

A Rock Crab feeding amongst a mass of Hermit Crabs.

With a slight offshore wind there was no sea mist and the views of the Milky Way, Orion Belt and the Southern Cross were crystal clear.

Marine Nursery.

A juvenile Crowned Nudibranch feeding in a shallow tidal pool.

In the tidalpools, it was like a marine nursery with many exciting finds of juvenile organisms.

It helped that the water was unexpectedly clear compared to the walk on Sunday evening.

The Formidable Spider, named for its impressive jaws, hunts iosopods in the intertidal zone at night.

A diminutive Sea Hare.

A Violet-spotted Anemone.

There were baby Common Octopus, minute Crowned Nudibranchs (Polycera capensis), diminutive Sea Hare (Aplysia parvula) and masses of Sparidae and Mullet fingerlings.

Rare Sighting.

A pair of juvenile Scarlet Sea Spiders.

In amongst all the incredible sightings, the highlight was seeing a Scarlet Sea Spider (Nymphon signatum). In all the excitement of seeing this small specimen, only the third time I have seen one, we missed seeing that there were actually two of them, something only noticed when reviewing a photograph later.

Missing Regulars.

Sadly, most noticeably absent from the tidalpools were the larger adult Common Octopus which we have seen regularly over the past 6 weeks. Whether this was a function of the environment or due to the fact that last night there were 7 people collecting bait and octopus, is difficult to distinguish. However it is important to note that no bait collection is legally permissable between sunset and sunrise along the South African coastline.

Community Conservation.

Sedgefield has an incredible asset in the form of Gericke’s Point and everyone should respect fishing regulations and quotas in line with of being custodians of both current and future biodiversity that is found there.

Climate Change.

In the past 15 years we have recorded more than 7 species that represent range extention as a result of global warming and it is vital to ensure that this marine sanctuary is sustainably looked after.

Marine Research.

Since January 2018 Gericke’s Point has been a core survey site for the Strandloper Project conducting research into ghost fishing, lead poisoning, reef damage and entanglements caused by snagged recreational fishing tackle.

Videos from Gericke’s Point.

#MoonlightMeander #SedgefieldSA #SANParks

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