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aussie 18-05-2003 04:14 PM

Thinking of diving in PNG waters ? why not purchase a book on Dangerous Sea Creatures
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Dangerous Sea Creatures is a must for all boat owners and any others who spend time around the coast or in the water. The quatic survival guide can be purchased from the publisher / writer - Neville Coleman who can be contacted per the following details below : or

Email : Neville Coleman's World of Water -

aussie 18-05-2003 04:37 PM

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This aquatic survival guide written by Neville Coleman covers the sea shore to sea floor with the motto 'Prevention is better than cure'.
With over 300 full colour pictures this A5 book is a comprehensive identification guide for beachcombers, reefwalkers, fishermen, divers, surfers, sailors and snorkellers.

The book is divided into sections with different background colours - Dangerous, Venomous, Poisonous and Incidental Hazards. Each page has four very clear photographs of a marine creature, with a block of information clearly headed -

Common name; Scientific name :

Distribution; Habitat; Hazard; Size, Remarks and Precautions. Several lines in the Remarks may cover such information as time the animals are seen, if an attack has been recorded or what part of the animal may cause the problem.

The information in Precautions is often practical and sensible, such as 'Don't hand feed this big fish' or 'Never swim without a face mask and body protection when these jellies are prevalent'.

Sunburn, wader's swimmer's itch, sea sickness and cane mites are under Incidental Hazards. Also included is information on the very serious infectious disease, which after famine and war, is the third greatest killer in the world - malaria. Besides a comprehensive index, there are several pages of First Aid.

SCIENTIFICNAME: Heterodontus portusjacksoni
DISTRIBUTION : Temperate, sub-tropical, tropical seas
HABITAT: Rocky reefs, broken bottom
HAZARD: Strong, sharp venomous dorsal fin spines
SIZE: 1.4m (4ft)
REMARKS: Commonly referred to as fan sharks, species of the family of Heterodontidae occur from shallow waters (where they breed) down to and beyond 200 metres. Examples are found in many seas throughout the world and may be encountered by trawlers, caught on handlines and observed by snorkel divers, scuba divers and underwater hunters. Injuries have occurred when divers have interfered with a shark, sometimes grabbing it by the tail and attempting to force the shark to tow the diver. In its struggles to get away the shark thrashes around oftenv wounding the diver on the sharp venomous dorsal spines.

Port Jackson sharks are quite harmless if left alone. Divers often come upon large groups holed up in caves, under ledges and/or amongst rock falls. Sharks generally sleep during the day time. Some divers think that stirring them up is fun and subsequently disturb them by pulling them out by the tails etc.

This type of behaviour is larrikinism at its worst form. The dorsal fin spines of all heterodontid sharks are quite sharp, strong, venemous and capable of injuring humans. Any wound can produce severe pain, may throb for some time and be slow to heal.

PRECAUTIONS: Leave Port Jacksons alone, respect their space and like so many other so-called dangerous marine animals, they will prove harmless.

aussie 18-05-2003 05:02 PM

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DISTRIBUTION: Tropical seas
HABITAT: Coral reefs, rocky reefs
HAZARD: Sharp teeth, unpredictable behaviour, poisonous to eat
SIZE: 2m (7ft)

REMARKS: Superficially similar in colouration to the giant moray, the leopard moray has a yellow edging along its dorsal fin. It is found throughout South-East Asia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, across Northern Australian reefs and down into the South Pacific.

The leopard moray always has a spot, or patch at the gill opening. Commonly hand-fed by divers throughout tropical oceans, this species can be gentle but has geen responsible for many accidental injuries to humans, Moray eels have a very well-developed sense of smell and will try to eat what they smell as fish.

Even though a diver has fed the eel and there is no food left, it can still smell it in the water. If the strongest scent comes from the hand that held the fish, 'hand feeding' justifies its name.

If feeding morays is your thing, take care and use something less vulnerable than your hand, preferably with adequate helpings of common sense.

aussie 18-05-2003 05:03 PM

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In some marine park areas such as Tahira Marine Park on Horseshoe Reef off Bootless Bay outside Port Moresby, Heron and Lady Elliot Islands on the Great Barrier Reef, moray eels have been fed and tamed and divers have been handling them for many years. This particular moray (photo left) trained by Bob and Dinah Halstead many years ago is without doubt one of the best behaved I ever experienced.

aussie 18-05-2003 05:10 PM

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Conus textile
DISTRIBUTION: Tropical, sub-tropical seas
HABITAT: Coral reefs, rocky reefs, sand
Deadly venomous sting
SIZE: 120mm (5in)

REMARKS: During the day, the textile cone seeks hiding places beneatt) rocks or coral and generally burrows into sand under these objects. By homing in on scent, this cone tracks down other gastropods, usually choosing ones that have no operculum.

When close to the prey, it expands its long proboscis and tentatively explores the other shell. Upon contact with flesh a modified radular dart bearing venom is shot into the prey, Later the dead animal becomes flaccid and is consumed by the cone.

PRECAUTIONS: Due to their distinctive markings, textile cones are very popular as keepsakes. All live cones are potentially dangerous -:; treat them that way even if they look empty.

aussie 18-05-2003 05:14 PM

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DISTRIBUTION: Tropical seas
HAZARD: Deadly venomous sting
SIZE: 20mm (.75in)

REMARKS: Without doubt this little cone is by far the smallest mature:: fish-eating cone recorded in the Indo-Pacific.

Discovered by the author in a mere five metres of water in Indonesia on a silty mud bottom. Certainly, its fish-eating habits were undescribed; any cone this small having enough toxin to kill a vertebrate (fish) twice its size must be regarded as a threat to humans.

aussie 18-05-2003 05:22 PM

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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Arothron hispidus
DISTRIBUTION: Tropical, sub-tropical seas
HABITAT: Coral reefs, rocky reefs HAZARD: Deadly poisonous to eat
SIZE: 500mm (20in)

REMARKS: A large, conspicuously-marked species, the broad-barred pufferfish has white lines and spots that extend onto the tail, with a black patch and a bright yellow circle around the pectoral fins.

Line caught, netted and trawled across the Indo-Pacific this fish should never be eaten as it contains the deadly tetrodotoxin (as do all puffers, porcupinefish, globefish, toadfish, sharpnose pufferfish, blowfish, boxfish and sunfish).

Death within 6 to 24 hours after ingestion is quite common due to respiratory paralysis. Sometimes the victim may be conscious, yet totally paralysed and unable to move. Various ancient civilisations used this poison to remove enemies and it is thought to be the main ingredient in the creation of the zombie cult in the West Indies.

Most pufferfish infamy is related to their deadly poisonous properties which make them fatal to eat, yet there is another dangerous aspect of puffers and big toadfish - their sharp, powerful, wire-cutting teeth. Many puffers feed on hard-shelled crustaceans, molluscs and echinoderms and their parrot-like fused teeth are extremely strong and sharp.

Larger species in Australia have been recorded as shearing off the big toes of people dangling their legs in the water while fishing. Even smaller specimens must be seen as potential threats to divers, or snorkellers whilst feeding fish underwater, and to photographers attempting to demonstrate the fish's defence systems.

aussie 18-05-2003 05:23 PM

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Be extremely careful if you have to handle puffers, or porcupinefish - they BITE!

PRECAUTIONS: Never eat pufferfish, or any fish which looks like them. Never, never let a toadfish or porcupinefish bite you, or like me, you'll wish you hadn't for some time after. Remember the front end bites!

This is the author's hand bitten twice due to his own carelessness and enthusiasm to get a picture.

aussie 18-05-2003 05:26 PM

Even the introduction is interesting and informative:

Of the 200,000 life forms inhabiting the oceans of the world, from tiny microscopic dinoflagellates to the mighty blue whales, there are only a small percentage which adversely affect humans. Humans are not the normal, natural prey of marine creatures, yet in the past we have considered ourselves (due to the extraordinarily irresponsible media exposure) to be on the menu of every creature in nature. In short, humans have always been at war with nature. Our ignorance and fear have bestowed totally ridiculous powers to many of these creatures, when in truth most have no understanding whatsoever of our existence (most cannot even see us!)

Neville Coleman wrote and produced the book in the sincere knowledge that most of our fears are only in our heads and the greatest journey is between our ears. Those animals which inhabit the world of water (once an unknown and fearsome place) are only begins, in many ways similar to ourselves. By knowing, recognising and understanding them a little more in their world, we can go amongst them with respect, rather than fear, wondering at how such fascinating creatures defend themselves against a host of predators. That these astounding devices sometimes work on inexperienced human visitors is unfortunate.

aussie 18-05-2003 05:28 PM

However, any person involved with the aquatic environment must be realistic and aware that accidents and incidents can happen. Hopefully with the visual aids, information, appraisals and advice contained in this book, the prospect of harmful encounters will be minimised.

After 35 years and over 12,000 logged dives experiencing and experimenting with dangerous, venomous and poisonous animals across the oceans of the world from the Seychelles to the British West Indies; from Japan down to Tasmania, Neville Coleman remains virtually unscathed. This was not achieved out of any attempt at bravado, but with a thorough understanding and a great deal of respect for the aquatic environment and its inhabitants, despite the overwhelming sense of his own fragility.

The information on the preceding pages and the photographs of marine life you may encounter around Papua New Guinea are only a small sample of the information contained in the book.

Dangerous Sea Creatures is a must for all boat owners and any others who spend time around the coast or in the water. The aquatic survival guide can be purchased from the publisher/writer - Neville Coleman


Email : Neville Coleman's World of Water -

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