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Bluespotted Maskray - Neotrygon kuhlii - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Bluespotted Maskray
Neotrygon kuhlii
Photo by Lisa Georgiou, 2016

Gnaraloo lagoons are home to the aptly named bluespotted maskray. They can be found in coastal and estuarine waters, often foraging in shallow sandy areas and may find shelter beneath ledges and in caves. Unlike most other stingray species, bluespotted maskrays rarely bury themselves in the sand. Ray populations are at risk in many areas due to their dependence on coral reef habitats which are subject to negative human impacts, such as the destruction of coral and pollution from fertilizers. They are also exploited in some areas for commercial sale. Watch out for the two venomous spines on the tail! Although they do not typically display aggression and are nice to look at, bluespotted maskrays are very venomous and can cause extreme pain.

Painted Moray - Gymnothorax pictus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Painted Moray
Gymnothorax pictus
Photo by Simone Bosshard, 2017

The painted moray, also known as the peppered moray, can be found in tropical marine waters around the Indo-Pacific, including Australia and around nearby islands. These eels can grow to be around 1.2 m in length and are white to pale grey in colour, with fine black speckles that accumulate with age, sometimes joining together to form diffuse splotches. They primarily like to inhabit shallow reef flats and rocky intertidal shores, sometimes taking shelter underneath rocks and between crevices. Painted morays have a diet primarily consisting of crustaceans but will occasionally eat fish as well. They have been known to leave the water, sometimes even leaping from the surface, to catch crabs perched on the rocks nearby.

Western Shovelnose Ray - Aptychotrema vincentiana - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Western Shovelnose Ray
Aptychotrema vincentiana
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2018

Debates persist on this wacky creature’s heritage but science concludes it is not a fish or a shark, but a ray! The Western Shovelnose Ray has multiple common names including the Shovelnose Shark, Guitarfish, Southern Shovelnose Ray, and Yellow Shovelnose Ray. They are endemic to Australia and are usually found near the shore, inhabiting shallow bays off Western Australia and South Australia. Western shovelnose rays may reach up to about 1 metre in length and can be recognized by their long triangular snout, elongated body, and a shark-like tail. They are usually a yellowish-brown colour often with cloudy blotches and a brown ‘mask’ around the eyes.

Whitetip Reef Shark - Triaenodon obesus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Whitetip Reef Shark
Triaenodon obesus
Photo by Simone Bosshard, 2018

As their name suggests, whitetip reef sharks live and feed along the reef, resting in aggregations during the day and feeding at night. The majority of their diet includes octopi, lobster, crustaceans and bony fish. Whitetip reef sharks hunt these species by chasing them into crevices along the reef and jamming their head in the holes to seal the exit. Because of this feeding behaviour, these sharks have adapted a more elongated region between the tip of the snout and the first dorsal fin to allow for deeper access into coral openings. Thankfully these beauties have a docile temperament, making them safe swimming companions!

Banded Humbug - Dascyllus aruanus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Banded Humbug
Dascyllus aruanus
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

The banded humbug or whitetail damselfish can be found in groups around coral bommies, often staghorn corals over shallow lagoons of the Indo-West or Central Pacific. Damselfish are egg layers and have a particularly interesting mating ritual. Once ready to mate, the fish will clear a site for the nest and then engage in a mating dance with rapid swimming and fin movements. During mating, males often turn a shade or two darker and may display white blotches. As with most fish, spawning usually occurs at dawn.

Tasselled Wobbegong - Eucrossorhinus dasypogon - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Tasselled Wobbegong
Eucrossorhinus dasypogon
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2017

This beautifully ornate species of carpet shark often lies motionless on shallow, sandy reef bottoms and inside crevices. Reaching 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in length, the tasselled wobbegong is a very broad, moderately flattened shark with a complex colour pattern consisting of small blotches and reticulations. The species also has a very distinctive fringe of branching dermal flaps around its head that extends to its chin. This fringe, along with its complex colour pattern, enables the shark to effectively camouflage itself against the reef environment!

Abbott's Moray - Gymnothorax eurostus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Abbott’s Moray
Gymnothorax eurostus
Photo by Pauline Fournat, 2013

Ambon Damsel - Pomacentrus amboinensis - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Ambon Damsel
Pomacentrus amboinensis
2007

Australian Anemonefish - Amphiprion rubrocinctus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Australian Anemonefish
Amphiprion rubrocinctus
Photo by Clement Droudrou, 2013

Barred Longtom - Ablennes hians - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Barred Longtom
Ablennes hians
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2013

Black-Spot Goatfish - Parupeneus spilurus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Black-Spot Goatfish
Parupeneus spilurus
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2016

Blacktip Reef Shark - Carcharhinus melanopterus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Blacktip Reef Shark
Carcharhinus melanopterus
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2017

Blacktip Rockcod - Epinephelus fasciatus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Blacktip Rockcod
Epinephelus fasciatus
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2013

Blue (or Semicircle) Angelfish - Pomacanthus semicirculatus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Blue (or Semicircle) Angelfish
Pomacanthus semicirculatus
2007

Blue Bastard - Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus

Blue Bastard
Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus
Photo by Lisa Georgiou, 2016

Blue Marlin - Makaira nigricans - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Blue Marlin
Makaira nigricans
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Blue-Barred Parrotfish - Scarus ghobban - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Blue-Barred Parrotfish
Scarus ghobban
Photo by Jeremie Collado, 2016

Bluespot Butterflyfish - Chaetodon plebeius - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Bluespot Butterflyfish
Chaetodon plebeius
2007

Bluespotted Fantail Ray Taeniura lymma - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Bluespotted Fantail Ray
Taeniura lymma
Photo by Pauline Fournat, 2013

Bronze Whaler / Copper Shark - Carcharhinus brachyurus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Bronze Whaler / Copper Shark
Carcharhinus brachyurus
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Convict Surgeonfish - Acanthurus triostegus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Convict Surgeonfish
Acanthurus triostegus
2006

Giant Grouper - Epinephelus lanceolatus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Giant Grouper
Epinephelus lanceolatus
2007

Golden Trevally - Gnathanodon speciosus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Golden Trevally
Gnathanodon speciosus
2009

Great White Shark - Carcharodon carcharias - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Great White Shark
Carcharodon carcharias
Photo by Bianca Law, 2012

Greencheek Parrotfish - Scarus prasiognathos - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Greencheek Parrotfish
Scarus prasiognathos
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2013

Grey Drummer - Kyphosus bigibbus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Grey Drummer
Kyphosus bigibbus
Photo by Jeremie Collado, 2017

Greyface Moray - Gymnothorax thyrsoideus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Greyface Moray
Gymnothorax thyrsoideus
Photo by Jeremie Collado, 2013

Manta Ray - Manta birostris - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Manta Ray
Manta birostris
Photo by Jeremie Collado, 2017

Margined Coralfish - Chelmon marginalis - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Margined Coralfish
Chelmon marginalis
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2017

Narrow-Banded Sergeant Major - Abudefduf bengalensis - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Narrow-Banded Sergeant Major
Abudefduf bengalensis
Photo by Pauline Fournat, 2013

Neon Damsel - Pomacentrus coelestis - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Neon Damsel
Pomacentrus coelestis
2007

Painted Maskray - Neotrygon leylandi - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Painted Maskray
Neotrygon leylandi
2007

Picasso Triggerfish - Rhinecanthus aculeatus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Picasso Triggerfish
Rhinecanthus aculeatus
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Scissortail Sergeant - Abudefduf sexfasciat -Gnaraloo Wildlife Speciesus

Scissortail Sergeant
Abudefduf sexfasciat
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Sixband Parrotfish - Scarus frenatus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Sixband Parrotfish
Scarus frenatus
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2013

Small Spotted Dart - Trachinotus baillonii - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Small Spotted Dart
Trachinotus baillonii
2011

Spanish Flag - Lutjanus carponotatus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Spanish Flag
Lutjanus carponotatus
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Spotted Boxfish - Ostracion meleagris - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Spotted Boxfish
Ostracion meleagris
2007

Spotted Eagle Ray - Aetobatus narinari - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Spotted Eagle Ray
Aetobatus narinari
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2017

Thicklip Wrasse - Hemigymnus melapterus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Thicklip Wrasse
Hemigymnus melapterus
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2013

Threadfin Butterflyfish - Chaetodon auriga - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Threadfin Butterflyfish
Chaetodon auriga
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2013

Threespot Rabbitfish - Siganus trispilos - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Threespot Rabbitfish
Siganus trispilos
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2013

Two-Line Monocle Bream - Scolopsis bilineata - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Two-Line Monocle Bream
Scolopsis bilineata
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Yellow Boxfish - Ostracion cubicus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Yellow Boxfish
Ostracion cubicus
Photo by Jeremie Collado, 2017

Yellowspot Goatfish - Parupeneus indicus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Yellowspot Goatfish
Parupeneus indicus
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2013

Have you seen animals that are not listed here?
Please submit your photos of what you saw at Gnaraloo – on land or in water – with a species identification.

Find more species identifications in the Gnaraloo Snorkel Guide by Denise Jenkins available at Gnaraloo Station.

Gnaraloo Snorkel Guide by Denise Jenkins
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