Netting session with a surprise

A recent netting session for sandeel as fishing bait was produced a lovely surprise.

We where out with a 5m gillnet in search for sandeel in about 1.5m of water. We pulled the net between us trying to chase the sandeel shoals into the net. A very good first haul has produced around 200 Sandeels 🙂 Back on dry land while removing the sandeel from the net we noticed 2 small little cuttle and I seperated them into a bucket with water. They looked extremely cute especially when they expelled tiny puffs of ink that looked rather cute than threatening 😉 I took them as baby cuttlefish however after some research I found them to be a very small species of cuttle fish called “little cuttle” Sepiola atlantica. The bigger one was fully grown at 3cm length. It was extremely intriguing to observe their ability to change colour sometimes nearly instantly from pale to dark. The real beauty of their skin texture only came out under the camera…

I took them home as I have already removed the velvet crab from the predator tank I thought they should be save just with prawns and hermits as company. They burried quickly in the sand after moving around the tank for a while. Very cool to watch them with their jet and dumbo ear “fins”. The same night when we checked the hermits where already chewing on them 😦 I think they relied too much on their camouflage while burried in the sand. I guess they would need a theme tank for themselves but it would be worth it, they are so cute.

Another bicatch from the netting session was a small flounder and a few sand/brown shrimp (I believe Crangon Crangon). Nice to see two completely differnet creatures with the same habitat having such identical colouration.

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The flatfish and two sandshrimp are now in the maintank seemingly doing well. I have observed the flounder a few times when nipping at the sand and his stomach looks filled so it seems to find food/creatures in the sand but it doesnt seem to be interested in any dead food. The Crangons are happily eating everything. The flounder is a very odd looking creature from certain angles…

The velvet crab that was in the predator tank has nearly doubled in size from about 4cm when I caught it.

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Very interesting to watch however obvioulsy extremely voracious. Even though they lived together in harmony for about three months the velvet crab has even eaten the short spined scorpion that was about 8cm long. Took him two days to finish his feast…

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here in memory…

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He has also eaten the 5cm Blenny and numerous snails and prawns.

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So it was time for a change and I brought it back into the wild. A very voracious predator and extremely fast and furious for a crab. Very interesting to watch. When I caught him we was missing one of his claws and 4 legs which have all grown back after the second shed. Here a few pictures for his tribute…

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