Category Archives: Marine Life

Angel Sharks – Paradise Divers Tenerife

As we are well into Angel Shark season here in Tenerife I thought I would write about them… They are interesting, weird looking Shark and sadly they are an endangered species… in some locations even extinct  now.. More on this later.. On this Blog I will talk about angel shark diet, habitat, reproduction, species, and physical appearance.

1.5m Angel Shark at 22m

Angel sharks belong to the family of Squatinidae. These sharks have stretched-out bodies along with the wide pectoral fins that largely resembles with the rays. There are around 16 species that fall under the genus Squatina in the same family. The angel sharks inhabit all throughout the tropical and temperate waters of the world. One of these species is known to exist in deep waters at a depth of about 1,200m.

The angel sharks are not considered to be dangerous to humans but one should not approach them as they have a powerful bite force and pointed teeth. Angel sharks are typically termed as ‘Bottom-dwellers.

At a depth of 10m the Angel shark tries to hide under the sand

These are angel shark species

* Sawback Angelshark
* Clouded Angelshark
* Eastern Angelshark
* Angelshark
* Ornate Angelshark
* Ocellated Angelshark
* Hidden Angelshark
* Sand devil
* Australian Angelshark
* Chilean Angelshark
* Japanese Angelshark
* Taiwan Angelsharkindonesian Angelshark
* Smoothback Angelshark
* Western Angelshark
* Argentine Angelshark
* Pacific Angelshark
* Gulf Angelshark
* Mexican Angelsha

General Information:
* The rear part of angel sharks resembles more like typical sharks.
* They have their eyes and spiracles right on top with five gills located below.
* The length of angel sharks measure around 1.5 meters.
* These shark species are very fond of eating crustaceans, mollusks, and fish.
* The angel sharks are ovoviviparous and they give birth to 13 – 20 pups.
* These fish are harmless but the respect should be given as they can pose danger if provoked.
* Back in 1980, the angel sharks provide an important food source especially for fisheries.
* The largest Angel Shark in our waters measures around 152 cm with the maximum age lived of 30 years.
* The males become mature at 8 years, with the length measuring at 75 – 80 cm.
* The females reach the maturity age after 13 years, with the length of 90 – 100 cm.
* There are white markings on the angel shark’s body coupled with the reddish-brown color. They display different colors that ranges from bright brown to the light grey. This much variation in the colors enables these species to be camouflaged themselves.
* They have sharp teeth with the upper jaw embedded with lots of teeth and the lower jaw with even more teeth.

What do angel sharks eat?

They tend to camouflage themselves in sand patches, rocky areas or patch reefs during daytime. Some of the most common angel sharks preys include squids, small fish, octopus, and crustaceans. These species are sit-and-wait predators. These fish often prey on mollusks, croakers, hake, halibut, peppered shark, corbina, blacksmith, flatfish, and other kinds of bony fishes. They seldom take on invertebrates other than those mentioned above.

Where do angel sharks live?

The angel sharks have an extensive distribution around the globe with species inhabiting across the tropical waters to the cold northern waters, and are often found in deep waters. Most of these species are active during night; they are considered to be bottom-dwellers and are known to prey on species that are hidden under the sand with the help of their trap-like jaws. These species are best known to primarily feed on small bottom fishes.

Reproduction

according to the available data the mating of these species begins in summer season. The young sharks tend to develop inside the female mothers. The gestation period lasts for about 10 months and the usual births take place in the months of June and March. The females litter 13– 20 pups. These pups are 25 cm long at birth.

Let’s save our Angel Sharks!

Dan

Paradise Divers – Marine Life – Burrfish

These beautiful, rare fish are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean. We have two boat dive sites which we visit regularly in Tenerife, where we have resident Burrfish.  It’s always enjoyable seeing the delight on our diver’s faces, when they have the opportunity to see a burrfish during their guided dive!

burr fish

They are found singly hiding in protected shaded areas in caves and under rocks. They feed nocturnally on hard shelled invertebrates, including sea urchins where they use their powerful jaws to crush the food… often the spines from the sea urchins get stuck in their lips.

This fish is solitary, except during mating periods, it has a nocturnal activity with a maximal activity at sunset and sunrise.

The average length is 33cm and they are found at depths of 20-100m

In case of danger, the Burrfish can inflate itself by swallowing water to deter the potential predator with its larger volume and it can raise its spines.

We would like to stress the importance of not catching or playing with the Burrfish because it is hard work for them to swell up and the consequent wear and tear on the muscles can harm the fish if it is forced to do this too often.

There seems to be a lot of confusion between the puffer fish and the porcupine fish. The main difference is that the porcupine fish are covered with sharp spines, which are visible even prior to ‘puffing up’, however the puffer fish have thinner spines that are only visible when ‘puffed up’

I always look forward to seeing our resident Burrfish, they are inquisitive and personable and a joy to watch!

By Carly Pickford

 

 

 

PARADISE DIVERS – DIVING IN TENERIFE – DIVEMASTER INTERNSHIP – WEEK 5 – PAULAS MOLLUSCS

Hola!!

This blog I will dedicate it to some of Tenerife molluscs, because all dives are very rich in mollusc’s biodiversity, and they are remarkable.

Diving this past week we have seen some beautiful cuttlefish- Sepia Cuttlefish (I109) - 1officinalis- that is usually found on sand bottom where they can bury. Cuttlefishes are able to do amazing changes of coloration. We also have seen really big Octopi- Octopus vulgaris– which are very intelligent animals which also have the ability to quickly change colour and texture depending on its mood.

The Rough penshell1Pinna rudis- is a triangular bivalve, which can reach 40 cm, is the biggest bivalve present in the Canaries Islands. We can found it in shallow waters, standing up perpendicular to the bottom. The valves usually are home to a couple of prawns.

In most of the last dives we have seen nudibranch eggs (Las Eras, Montaña Amarilla, Cueva de los cerebros). Therefore we are expecting os see plenty of nudibranch when we are diving this summer (finger cross).

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Nudibranch eggs

 

 

The most abundant nudibranch in south Tenerife is re3al nudibranch –Hypselodoris picta – they can be quite big (up to 15cm) black bluish colour with yellow spots or stripes. We found them usually alone and during daytime. They feed on sponges; from with they get toxic metabolites for defending from predators.

At “Cueva de los cerebros” we have found some pretty amazing mollusc: the Warty Umbrella Snail 4Umbraculum mediterraneum– they feed on sponges and they have a circular body, up to 20 cm. Its body is full of pustules and it is much bigger than its self.

 

Until next week!! Gone diving…

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Green Sea Turtles – Don’t Do it…!

Hi all, it has been a while since we have made a blog about our resident turtles.. After all we are surrounded by them in Tenerife..

This blog was written after an incident in one of our dives where another Dive Centre made a wrong move in front of our customers..

It was a sunny day (usual here in Tenerife) and we were just about to enter the water when we reminded our divers that if the turtles show up then no grabbing, no feeding, don’t be scared, stay still if they swim towards you etc… The usual stuff…

Just behind us, there was another Dive Cecropped-turtle12.jpgntre entering the water which I had spotted.

As we entered the water and descended to about 4-5m we were greeted by Jose and Juan (the two biggest turtles in El Puertito). They were very friendly that day and wanted to play and investigate our divers… All was good, and I again spotted the other dive centre coming towards us. At this stage, we were in a circle with the turtles over our head and the divers with their guide from the other dive centre slowly came to sit next to us. At this stage the turtles were going up to the divers, looking around then moving to the next and carried on being gentle as usual. To my surprise, the guide took out dead fish aDSCF2311nd started to cut and hand out to his divers, the only reason I see in doing this is to get the turtles even closer to his divers for his guaranteed photos. I am not going to get into the details but I have never seen Jose behave the way he did as soon as he was fed, he became very agitated and changed his behavior around my divers, I had to get in between the turtles and my divers, I must say, at this stage I exchanged some gestures with the other guide and he quickly took the fish off from his customers hand, but unfortunately the damage was done and I slowly pulled my divers away from the other divers and continued our dive as we usually do..

There is no excuse, there is a big sign at this dive site explaining not to feed the turtles but some people will always ignore things like that..

Feeding removes the greatest pleasures of venturing into the wild observing natural behavior. Marine animals that are fed behave completely differently from those that forage on their own.
Marine animals in the wild have very particular diets. Eating other foods can weaken and sicken wildlife.
Feeding causes wildlife to lose their natural fear of humans. These animals become easy targets for people who do not respect wildlife and would hDCIM100GOPROurt them intentionally. Also, people who become fearful may injure an animal in an attempt to defend themselves against a mistaken “attack.”
Feeding causes injuries and harmful interactions between marine animals by forcing competition and confrontation among individuals and species which otherwise would not interact. We see this at the same site, There is always a large barracuda swimming around the turtles… This is most probably due to the feeding happening at this site.

No doubt the feeding will continue, but we will continue to educate as much as we can..

Happy Safe Diving
Dan

Rescue Turtles release Las Galletas

On Sunday 31st August the team went down to support and see 2 rescue turtles released. They had been rescued earlier this year and taken in by the Centro de Rehabilitación de Fauna Silvestre. 2 turtles were released – 1 green turtle and 1 loggerhead turtle who had both come to the centre in a bad way.

Turtle release

Turtle release

 

The green turtle had been caught by a fishing line, it looks like the line had been cut but the hooks remained in the turtles mouth and neck – you can still see the stitches on some of the photos.

Turtle release

Turtle release

The Loggerhead turtle had been found on the beach in a really bad state – he was nearly decapitated, he had got his head caught in a 6 pack plastic can holder around his neck, again you can see in the pictures.
Turtle release

Turtle release

The day was a great day – to see the turtles patched up and ready to go in the sea, they were unloaded and then taken down to meet the large waiting crowd, they let the crowd get very close to the turtles, which made the turtles look a little uncomfortable  –

Turtle release

the team explained they do this on purpose, they expose the turtles to the people so they are slightly stressed and therefore would fear humans. While they are at the centre they have a lot of human contact and therefore associate us as good and a source of food –  this is not natural for the turtles, they need to fear human contact as many of the injuries seen result from this.

Turtle release

Turtle release

Then came the magic moment, one at a time the turtles were released into the sea with a big cheer from the crowd, they both swam off without a look back, we saw both of them come to the surface for a breath and then they were gone. They swam off to where they belong, stretching their fins and probably off for a well deserved sleep!

If you want to come and see these beautiful creatures and much more underwater book a diving experience www.paradisedivers.co.uk

.Turtle release

Turtle release

Turtle release

Thanks to Gabor for the great pictures of the day

Happy Diving Everyone

World Turtle Day

Yesterday brought World Turtle Day and as we have so many in Tenerife, they deserve a blog entry…

The most common turtles we see in Tenerife are the green turtles and on our two local sites we have two resident turtles in Alcala (one other has been spotted but we rarely see him) and we have recently seen a total of 4 in El Puertito. 2 we see most dives the other two are a bit shy. One of the 4 is a baby turtle which just the other week swam past us and that was the first time we have seen him.

The one we have named Jose, which always comes to see us is very friendly and usually comes up to your face (good for some excellent shots – you may have seen these on our facebook page) before swimming past you above your head. He likes to be scratched on his back and you will see him swinging side to side and rest on the sand as you do this. He always comes back for a few of those before he makes his way to other divers.

Here comes what makes us angry at the Dive Centre… Some Divers and dive guides seem to be feeding these turtles with fish they bring in from the local market.. There are mixed emotions on this and our view is that it is a big mistake to do this. These turtles grow to learn to eat from what they can find, if you feed them then they loose the urge to look for food and this is sadly one action that ends up killing the turtles.. They stop finding food because they believe the next divers will bring them food, if then this ever stops they will find themselves die of hunger. This is very sad and luckily rare that it happens but unfortunately we have seen it happen. The other negative on feeding them is that they will get used to feeding from divers fingers and at times they may think that the next divers coming to see them also have food and instead go for their fingers.

While I was taking customers on a guided dive the other day in El Puertito I saw a dive guide feed the turtle and as the turtle was getting a bit desperate for the food while he was cutting it the guide acted in non friendly way to put it nicely and pushing the turtle away left me no choice but to have a word with him when he came out. Not something I normally like to do but this was not showing my divers any good Project aware and not very nice for the turtle which we love.

I am happy to see that the Alcala turtles do not get fed by the clubs and centres that use this site and you can see the difference in the turtle behavior, they are much more calm and stay close to you but are not always looking at your fingers..!!

There is no need to feed them, they look after themselves and they always come to see you anyway, why feed them for the extra few minutes they may stay with you.. Help us to stop this behavior..

Happy Diving everyone..
Dan

Here is a picture of Jose..

cropped-turtle1.jpg

Meet Robbie

Robbie and I (Dan) got off to a wrong start of our friendship.. Let me tell you all about it….

When I guide dives in Tenerife I always like to take a torch with me to look in the little cracks and holes, normally I find lots of weird little marine life. We were in Marazul and did a shallow dive of 18m max, we saw lots of trumpet fish, arrowhead crabs and much more, on the way back I decided that as we had plenty of air we would look around some rocks where we can normally find octopus… boy did I find octopus.. There he was just outside his house the biggest octopus I have seen yet and I quickly used my rattle and pointed the octopus out. As I am making sure everyone has seen him, the not so little octopus decided to bring one of his powerful tentacles round the back of his rock house and grab on to my torch, this was a magnet on/off LED torch which I always liked as a backup torch, and then we got on to a tug of war game, which unfortunately after a minute or so he won and the metal clip holding the torch to my lanyard broke off. He was now the proud owner of a new torch for night hunting. We tried together with the other divers to get it back but he had taken it so far into his house we could not reach it. Since then I have gone back to knock on his house and although he is always there he seems to have misplaced my torch.. For that reason we named him Robbie.

Torchless Dan…

PS: If you are diving Marazul and you see a light coming your way, hang on to all your belongings…