Shiprock A profusion of life


Shiprock is a tidal wall in Port Hacking near Cronulla on the south side of Sydney that has unique and amazing marine life. Twice a day, tidal currents bring fresh supplies of nutrients to feed and oxygenate this amazing ecosystem. The walls support lifeforms that feed on open water plankton. The sea floor has an incredibly rich Bivalve shell fauna including Mussels, Scallops, Oysters, Pipis, Chinaman's Fingernails, Cockles and more. Bivalves are one of the few lifeforms that can survive well in very silty turbid water. They use their gills to sort food from muddy water.

  Dwarf Lionfish Pineapple Fish
  The wall at shiprock gets a twice daily flush of nutrient rich water from the ocean. Shiprock supports an abundant diversity of marine life. Dwarf Liofish easily find plentiful pickings. Pineapple fish live under ledges and overhangs. They are active at night. There is a red spot beneath the eye, inside of which are bio-luminescent bacteria that create a glow spot. Fish and shrimp and other critters are attracted to the light and are eaten.
  Anglerfish Decorator crab
  The marbled Anglerfish has a lure with which it attracts prey. It can engulf prey with a lightning fast strike. As it opens its cavernous mouth, it flaps the massive gill cover causing a powerful suction of water which draws in the hapless prey in a fraction of a second. Decorator crabs have tiny hooks on their shell to which they attach sponge, soft coral, bryozoans and even kelp. There is a whole ecosystem that lives in and under the sponge gardens filled with some very extraordinary critters.