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Do you want an apple? Here’s a sea apple!

This particular "apple" is offered up by Benita Chick, our guest blogger for she is not only an expert diver, often underwater, takes great photos too, but she is also an excellent journalist and writer too. Over to you, Ms Chick......

I am an avid diver with over 20 years of experience in Hong Kong. Most people won’t say Hong Kong is a diver’s paradise with perfect visibility, but with 84 species of stony corals as compared to 70 in the Caribbean, and hosting more than ¼ of all marine species recorded in China, I don’t think the biodiversity in Hong Kong is actually that bad.

I spent my Master degree studying sea cucumbers (holothurians) in Indonesia as part of a genetic project in designing marine parks in Indonesia. And I have found them to be very fascinating other than just elongated, boring black food objects on Chinese dishes.

Sea cucumbers are capable of exuding sticky and distasteful white tubules (cuvierian tubules) from their anus if being threatened. A related but more violent defensive mechanism is evisceration, in which internal organs are expelled through the ruptured body to entangle and distract the enemy. In both cases, they are able to regenerate the lost structures and survive.

In southern China, 101 species of sea cucumber are recorded but only 21 species are found in Hong Kong. They can be find in shallow shores to deeper parts of the oceans.

They come in all colours and different shapes, and here are two common species found in Basalt island, with their tentacles moving around to grab capture plankton and then transfer it to the “mouth”.. They are amusing to watch with their movement and definitely picture worthy. The larger, orange-coloured sea cucumber is commonly called a sea apple, (scientific name: Pseudocholochirus violaceus). Due to their round shape, many divers mistake these animals for plants rather than a sea cucumber.  Like other sea cucumbers, the sea apple can expel it’s guts when it feels threatened.  It can also expel a toxin into the surrounding water to scare off predators. The smaller, pink-coloured species in the same photo is the thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis). It's not really thorny, more leathery in texture.

Who knew??? thank you Benita for that underwater exploration...... Benita has asked for this link and Insta handle: or Instagram @saxyscuba


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