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Water World

Water world In the final part of our series on the best of Hong Kong's natural world, we take to the sea for a look at some of the rare and endangered marine life around our shores. Status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species Least concern Near threatened VU vulnerable Endangered White-bellied sea eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster Black mangrove Lumnitzera One of Hong Kong's rarest and most magnificent birds of prey, less than 40 of these eagles live and breed here. Adults have a distinctive white head and underbelly, in contrast to the dark feathers on their wings. Numbers have declined significantly across Southeast Asia. About 60 inter-tidal wetlands containing mangroves can be found in Hong Kong, covering a total area of 510 hectares. They are home to a huge variety of plants and animals. Shore Grey spots along back Chinese white dolphin Sousa chinensis chinensis Fiddler crab Uca arcuata Also known as "pink dolphin". This Hong Kong icon is often seen in the city's western waters and can be identified by its pink exterior. They are playful and highly popular with wildlife watchers. Usually found in sheltered bays or estuaries, the colour of their shell varies with the tide and the time - dark in the daytime and pale at night. They are said to have a high tolerance of human settlements. Young usually have darker skin, almost black Eyes No dorsal fin Carapace Finless porpoise Neophocaena phocaenoides Related to but distinct from whales and dolphins, porpoises live close to the shore in waters with soft and sandy seabeds. They are said to be less energetic and showy than dolphins, yet still active swimmers. They are classed as vulnerable. Small head Like other sea turtles. it cannot pull its head into its shell - Compound eyes with wide view angle Common green turtle Chelonia mydas Horseshoe crab Neophocaena phocaenoides One of the largest turtles in the world, it is found in tropical and subtropical seas worldwide, yet is classed as endangered These crabs are thought to have been on earth since before the dinosaurs appeared 300 million years ago, and in that time their basic body form has remained unchanged. This has led to them being called "living fossils". Shell Six pairs of legs Telson, or tail fin Weighing up to 317 kg Greenish skin colour Interior side Mouth Coral Coral provides food and shelter for a huge variety of sea creatures and organisms. It also forms a nursing ground for a number of commercially important fish. Seagrass Seagrass is an important part of the marine ecosystem, providing food and shelter for a variety of creatures including fish, crabs and turtles. Soft coral Gorgonacea N Stony coral Goniopora columna Black coral Antipatharia widgeon grass Ruppia maritima A member of the octocoral sub-class of coral, it is widely found in water around Hong Kong eight to 10 metres deep. More than 80 species of this hard coral thrive in local waters, more than the number found in the Caribbean. It is mostly limited to shallow and sheltered water. Tree-like coral found in rare shallow but dark water. The skeleton is black while its living tissue is brightly coloured. First recorded at Shek O Lagoon in 1912 and today in shallow shrimp ponds at the Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve, this type of aquatic grass grows in waters between 0.6 and 2 metres deep. Has eight feather- like tentacles Eelgrass Zostera japonica At home in cooler waters, this grass dies off in Hong Kong in the warmer months. It requires sunlight to grow and has been damaged by increas- ingly cloudy and polluted water. Spoon grass Halophila beccarii Each has 24 long and fleshy tentacles as a skeleton Widely found in the South China Sea, it was first recorded in Tsim Bei Tsui in 1978, but four hectares of it covers the bed of Ha Pak Nai. It forms an important feeding ground for horseshoe beneath crabs. Lancelet Cephalochordate Branchiostoma belcheri A fish-like creature often found half buried in sand in shallow temperate waters. They are often harvested for food but are of particular interest to biologists as they hold clues as to how creatures with backbones first developed. Sources: WWF Hong Kong. Arkive, National Geographic SCMP Graphic: Adolfo Arranz

Water World

shared by adolfux on May 25
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Illustrated graphic about the marine life under waters in Hong Kong sea and shores.


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