Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tropical Wetlands- below the surface - Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory there are a few springs, some of them thermal, which you can swim in safely without worrying about Esturine crocodiles. I took my mask and snorkel in to see if there were any fish. Swimming in these pools is like being in an aquarium. The water is so comfortable and clean and it is extremely beautiful. I was surprised by the amount of different types of fishes. These are pictures of what I found.

Chris, Lorella Springs NT

underwater scene, Bitter Springs, Mataranka

Rainbow Fish

This fish is called a scat.

Berry Springs, near Darwin. This school of herring like fish were about 20ft deep. They just seemed to hang in open water.

Long Tom. Bitter Springs, Mataranka, NT

Water Lilly, Berry Springs

and this is what water lillies look like underneath the water.

Waterplant. Lorrella Springs. NT

Freshwater crocodiles are found in these springs but generally they leave people alone (unlike their larger cousins). I didnt see any while I was snorkelling.

Rainbow fish, Lorella Springs.

Rainbow Fish. There a number of different species of Rainbow fish.

This is a freshwater saw shark. They are endangered. They live in the same waterways as the very dangerous Esturine crocodiles. I took this photo at  an aquarium at the Territory wildlife Park, NT.

Eel-finned catfish, Berry Springs.

This pair of damselflies are laying eggs on the vegetation under the water.The male is the blue one. Often in dragonflies and damselflies the males and females differ in colour. I dont often get to see this at eye level.

Berry Springs, NT.

Algae, the simplest of plants has no structure to it and quivers slowly as the water flows over it. take it out of the water and it is nothing but slimy substance without much form. Seeing this was every bit as beautiful as any scene in the sea.

water plants at Lorella Springs. NT

I took this photo from a boat. Throughout ther water ways in Australia's tropics there is a danger of being attacked by Esturine crocodiles. They can be really hard to see as they blend in so well to their environment. Oddly some water birds dont worry about attacks from crocs. Egrets stalk fish quite happily near them and they aren't  attacked.

This is a barramundi, a favourite eating fish in the NT. This is a small one which means its male, they change their sex to female when they are about eight years old. They are sexually mature at 4. So four years as a male and then the rest of their lives they are female.

This is an archer fish, so called because they spit at insects flying above the water and as they fall onto the surface of the water they are eaten.

Some of the springs have really large schools of thes rainbow fish, the biggest of which is about 100mm or so.

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