A Battle for Survival: Marine Life at Long Reef Aquatic Reserve


  • Blue-ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena)

    It’s bite contains Neuromuscular-paralysing toxins.

  • Fireworms or Bristleworms (Eurythoe complanata)

    Have poison-filled bristles that can break off & pierce your skin if you touch them. Length – up to four centimetres.

  • Brittlestars (Ophiothrix spongicola)

    Escapes predators by disconnecting part of a limb. This wriggles free as it falls. It has five limbs that are centrally controlled but it has no brain. New limbs regenerate quickly.

  • Chitons (Sypharochiton delliserpentis)

    “Coat-of-Mail” shell. Eight shell valves allow them to bend & coil into a ball for defence. An ancient creature descended from Mollusc. They have light-sensitive cells just under the skin. They can see underwater & in the sun & they feed on algae.

  • Cunjevoi or Sea Squirts (Pyura stolonifera)

    They start life as larva-like tadpoles with gills, a tail, spinal cord & rudimentary brain. They attach & grow on solid rock near the low water line. After attaching, the larva rotates back away over its body, opens to the sea & starts filtering for food. It expels water or squirts when it’s touched or stepped on.


  • Elephant Snails (Scutus antipodes)

    Uses a protective shell to shield vital organs.

  • Decorator Crabs

    Decorator Crabs hook algae onto their carapace (back) for camouflage. Hermit Crabs (Paguroidea) crawl into empty shells for protection so that octopuses & other predators cannot find them.

  • Sea Hares (Dolabrifera brazieri)

    Exudes purple dye – acid mucus as a defence. The dye affects the sense organs of predators & acts as a smoke screen.

  • Sea urchins (Heliocidaris erythroaramma)

    Their spikes protect them from predators & their suction feet provide locomotion & hold them onto rocks. This long living creature grows up to 110mm. It has five teeth used for grazing which are self-sharpening – contain Magnetite. They carve out their own “holes” in the rock to shelter in.

  • Turban shells

    a.Turbanmilitary & b.Turbantorquata.
    a. Flat “cat’s eye” called an Operculum. b. Spiral.
    Is long living and grows up to 150mm in size. Shells are dull, encrusted & unattractive but when flaked back, display a beautiful under layer.

Education Resources – Marine Life: www.ReefcareLongreef.org.au
All photos taken on Long Reef.