• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Tag Archives: dive gorontalo

Healthy Coral Growth Evident in Gorontalo’s Reefs

Healthy coral growth is a notable characteristic of Gorontalo’s pristine reefs. Hard corals, known as scleractinians, dominate the marine environment here. Situated in the center of the Indo-Pacific’s Coral Triangle, Gorontalo displays highly diverse and dense corals.  

Diverse Acropora coral colonies

One genus of Gorontalo’s hard corals is Acropora. Acropora coral colonies can form tables or branches, depending on the species. In fact, there are over 140 species of Acropora.

healthy coral with polyps
Acropora with coral polyp tentacles protruding

Scleractinian corals are actually animals that live in a surrounding calcium structure. The animal is a a coral polyp. It is shaped like a tube with a single opening at one end. Tentacles usually ring this opening and function to gather plankton for food. Waste is expelled through the same opening. These tentacles can protrude or retract from the surrounding structure. Moreover, these tentacles gather passing plankton to eat. The embedded end of a coral polyp is connected to the entire coral colony via shared tissue and a nerve net. Moreover, all Acropora species are colonial.

Most Acropora species share a common distinction. The individual coral polyp is encased in a small tube that projects from the common substructure. This is true whether the Acropora forms a flat table or forms branches. Upon close inspection, divers can observe this distinction. However, determining the species of an Acropora colony requires microscopic analysis of its calcium skeleton.

Ringed in White

For the most part, the coloration of Acropora colonies comes from algae living inside the tissue of coal polyps. These algae are symbiotic. By process of photosynthesis, they convert sunlight into energy. This energy is more than the algae needs, so the surplus is passed to the coral polyp host. Scientists suspect that algae provides up to 98% of the nutrients health coral colonies need to survive.

Most divers know that rising ocean temperatures can cause the algae to vacate its coral host. If the algae does not return, within a matter of weeks the coral starves to death.

healthy coral
Acropora table corals with healthy white edges

Some divers are shocked to see Acropora colonies in Gorontalo ringed in white. They conclude that the coral is experiencing dangerous bleaching. However

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, this white edging is actually indicates rapid coral growth. In fact, the colony edges represent new coral growth. Algae has not yet had time to assimilate into the new coral polyps on the edge of the healthy coral colony.

Healthy Coral Environmental Conditions

Gorontalo Province is free from chemical producing factories. This means water contamination is very low. Also, frequent wave action creates high amounts of oxygenation. Located just north of the equator, Gorontalo enjoys an abundance of sunlight. All these elements are necessary for healthy coral growth.

Gorontalo’s health coral reefs are waiting for you to enjoy. So, please make your dive reservations directly with Miguel’s Diving.

Reticulated puffers delight divers in Gorontalo

Reticulated puffer is a clumsy, clownish swimmer that delights divers who chance to see it. This puffer lives throughout the Indo-Pacific tropics

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, including Gorontalo.

A Distinctive Network of Lines

reticulated puffer
Arothron reticularis in Gorontalo

The scientific name for this fish is Arothron reticularis, which is a fitting name. Reticulated means arranged like a net or marked like a network. Only the Reticulated puffer has the network of white lines around its face and belly. It sports white spots on its body. But so too does Arothron hispidus, another puffer species that lacks the network of lines. The body color for Arothron reticularis range from brown to grey.  

Puffer fish have quite distinctive bodies. This includes tough skin and a dental plate in their beak-like mouth. What they lack is more notable. They lack fin spines and ribs. As a result, they can inflate their stomachs with water when afraid. Moreover, their skin, gonads, and liver contain two toxins. These are tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin. Some species are more toxic than others. Because different puffer species have similar body shapes, identification is most accurate when using color patterns.

So, the reticulated pattern makes the Reticulated puffer easy to identify.

Facing a Reticulated Puffer

Typically, puffer fishes are occasional in the marine environment. However, Miguel’s Diving staff know of one dive site in Gorontalo where Reticulated puffers are likely to be seen. Moreover, this species of puffer fish also exhibits the ability to recognize humans. Certain puffers at that dive site swim right to our dive masters.  

reticulated puffer smiles
A Reticulated puffer smiles for the camera

The face of a Reticulated puffer makes a delightful photo. Besides showing the distinctive reticulated pattern, the eyes are especially beautiful. Encircled with white rings, the eyes have brown irises and dark pupils. The eyes have great range of motion. This puffer fish smiles for the camera with its four teeth plates. These continually grow. The fish will keep them worn down by eating shrimps and crustaceans. On the snout and between the eyes are twin, forked tuffs. These are actually olfactory organs that allow the fish to smell its watery environment.

Divers will notice that the body of this fish is often sprinkled with sand. During the day, puffer fish often hide in sandy bottoms. They use their pectoral fins to throw sand onto their backs. Their maximum length is 45 centimeters.

Proper Behavior for Divers

Divers should never catch or grab puffer fish to make them inflate. This action frightens the fish

, causing stress. Like many puffer species, the Reticulated puffer is covered with defensive spines. These short prickles are only visible when the fish is puffed up in a defensive posture.

Although our Reticulated puffers know some of our dive staff, they do not like to be pursued with cameras. Instead, for guests who want a souvenir photo of this cute fish, we recommend approaching patiently. If the fish starts to swim away, leave it alone. Given time, it will return. A photographer’s random behavior that ignores direct pursuit of the fish will calm it down, allowing a closer approach for a photograph.  

For your chance to see this delightful puffer fish in Gorontalo, please make your dive reservations directly with Miguel’s Diving.  

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