The Great Barrier Reef is located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, in the Coral Sea. It is the most extensive coral reef system in the world and a genuinely extraordinary wonder of nature. It is about 3,000 reefs and 900 islands that sprawl over 344,400 square kilometers in area and more than 2,300 kilometers in length. It has one of the most impressive ecosystems and diverse marine life. The Great Barrier Reef is also the only living organism that can be visualized from space.
This coral reef system is bubbling with life, and all kinds of organisms call it home. While some of the organisms are regular and ordinary, some animals are truly unusual. This piece is going to concentrate on these weird creatures.
It is pretty easy for a diver to overlook the reef stonefish because it is excellent for camouflage. It blends in so well with the environment that it looks like a coral or just some rock. It hunts and feeds on crustaceans and tiny fish. But do not be fooled; this is one of the most venomous fish on the planet. It has 13 stiff spines on its fin, and with it, it can inject a hazardous toxin, one that is so potent that it can kill a human being.
This is one of the most unusual and bizarre creatures in the ocean. As the night falls, some particular parrotfish species create a ball of mucus using bubbles they blow from their mouths. This ball of slime is for protection against predators like the sharks. But that is not even the most bizarre thing about this fish. It eats the coral and then excretes the coral as sand – very weird indeed. The shape of its head and its eyes’ placement are also not what you will expect of a fish.
Humphead Maori wrasse
This massive fish never fails to grab the attention of everyone with its bright colors and sheer size. The males can grow up to six feet in length, so you can imagine how huge they can be. They have a distinctive and protruding forehead alongside big lips. But even as gigantic as these fish are, they are known for their amiable disposition in captivity.
For centuries, the dugong has left people spellbound. This creature is found mainly in Australia, and it shares a lot more with elephants than dolphins or whales. These beasts can grow up to three meters in length and tip the scales at well over 400 kg. They have fluke-like tails just like the manatee. They are mainly herbivores and consume up to 30 kilograms of seagrass in one day. They’re close cousins of manatee, another wonderful fat baby.
It is because they feed on seagrass mainly that they are called sea cows. They spend much of the time during the day and night doing nothing else but eating. They are known for having excellent memories, even if the brain makes up only 0.1% of the body weight. They can live for seventy years, and it is believed that dugongs have inhabited the Great Barrier Reef for over 60,000 years.
This is not your regular octopus. The blanket octopus has an enormous discrepancy in gender size of any animal. The females are 40,000 times bigger than their male counterparts. The name is derived from the giant females because they have an elongated and fleshy ‘cape’ covering the tentacles. This way, it looks a lot more menacing to predators.
The female blanket octopus can reach two meters in length. But it will interest everyone in knowing that the same does not apply to the males. The male is typically less than one inch in height!
The blanket fish is mainly carnivorous and feeds on smaller fish. Its method of hunting other fish is also quite bizarre. It hunts other fish by using a tentacle that rips from the toxic jellyfish – that is what it uses as its weapon – very strange indeed.
The typical clam is not imposing when it comes to size, but that does not apply to the giant clam. This type of clam can weigh up to 200 kg! Apart from its impressive size, it is also known for its vivid colors, which show how healthy it is. The more colorful a clam is, the better its health status. In a case where the giant clam is sick, it shows as the color begins to fade off until it turns white. If a giant clam is in perfect shape, it can live for up to a century. One unusual feature with the giant clam is that unlike some of the other organisms in the Great Barrier Reef, it does not move about. It stays still in the same spot for all of its life. Even though there are myths about giant clams devouring divers, the truth is that these gentle giants are harmless and do not attack people.