A scientific approach to discover the Maldives from another perspective!
There is a resident marine biologist on the island to answer any questions from guests who wish to learn more about the subject.
In particular, programmed events include:
These are the species which can be viewed around the island of Athuruga:
Angelfish: One of the most common fish of the Maldivian barrier reefs, they can be easily recognised thanks to their gaudy colours. The emperor angelfish and the royal angelfish are two of the most common in the area. It is interesting that young emperor angelfish sport a different colouring to the adult fish.
Clownfish: One of the most famous fish of the Maldives, it lives in harmony with the sea anemones, hiding among its tentacles. Each anemone hosts a harem of clownfish, made up of numerous males and a single dominate female. Clownfish are able to change gender; they are born male and once they reach a certain size become female.
Batfish: Naturally curious and completely harmless, batfish elegantly approach the flippers of snorkelers and divers. The young fish have a completely different body shape reminiscent of a leaf transported by the current, to confuse predators and aid survival.
Parrotfish: So-called because their mouth is reminiscent of a parrot’s beak. In fact it uses its robust beak to scrape algae from the surface of the corals, producing a characteristic sound. After sunset it resides in clefts, producing a bubble of mucus which hides it from nocturnal predators.
Surgeonfish: An eye-catching and brightly coloured group of fish, surgeonfish are important for the marine ecosystem as they feed on the algae which cover the corals. They are called surgeonfish because both sides of the tail fin’s base are covered with a sharp bony spine like a scalpel.
Table acropora corals: A genus of coral shaped like a table which can be found everywhere in the shallow waters of the reef. It provides shelter to a great number of barrier reef fish.
Brain coral: So-called because of its shape similar to a human brain.
Mushroom coral: A solitary coral, at night it extends its numerous tentacles to feed on plankton. An interesting fact is that this coral can use its tentacles to move.
Manta ray: A majestic sea creature, it seems to fly elegantly through the water. One of the most enjoyable and moving experiences in the Maldives. It can have a wingspan of 4 metres.
Whale Shark: The gentle giant of the Maldives, it is possible to swim next to one of these creatures in complete safety. The typical speckled coloration allows each individual to be recognised. To the south of the Ari atoll there is a nursery area where numerous young whale sharks between 4 and 8 metres long congregate.
Hawksbill turtle: Among the corals of the barrier reef it is possible to spot numerous sea turtles, intent on eating sponge and small sea anemones. Every now and then they can also be admired as they come to the surface to breathe.
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