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What's Done This?

Discussion in 'Name that Critter' started by FLL Diver, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. FLL Diver

    FLL Diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Minneapolis, MN
    2,033
    2
    38
    Can someone help identify what's left this one the bottom. There were a number of these on top of small piles of sand. It looks like something's cleaning out it's hiding hole?

    Marc
     
  2. SDAnderson

    SDAnderson Dive Charter

    # of Dives:
    Location: On a good day, Lake Michigan
    3,305
    77
    0
    How big?
     
  3. archman

    archman Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    5,018
    90
    48
    holothuroid fecal castings.
     
  4. FLL Diver

    FLL Diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Minneapolis, MN
    2,033
    2
    38
    The sand piles were 5" across, the forms 3". There were a couple of dozen of them all in the same area which caught my attention.


    The shape is rather fecal looking, but I thought that too obvious. :wink:
    Sea cucumbers?

    Marc
     
  5. archman

    archman Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    5,018
    90
    48
    I've seen cucumber poo anywhere from 25 feet at Looe Key to 9,000 feet in the north central Gulf. There isn't much variation for the direct deposit feeding types. One neat thing to do is stick your finger in it... the poo'd sand tends to be cleaner than the stuff it's sitting on.

    The technical term for this stuff is "lebennspurren", which translates as "life traces". This crap as I like to call it is a major focus of my research. I don't know why the women don't come flocking, though. :wink:
     
  6. got4boyz

    got4boyz Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Driggs, Idaho, United States
    407
    0
    0
    The first time I saw something similar to this was in Hawaii, but they were in taller piles. They were all over. I was told they were fish poo (lebennspurren that is). Then I saw it in Florida on a shore dive too.

    I was going to post a picture but I have seemed to have lost my pictures from my trip to Hawaii last year. I had to replace the motherboard on my laptop but I thought I had everything backed up, but I can't find my pics. I'll be so sad if they are gone! :sad_2:

    Archman- Just what kind of research are you doing with it? I heard that sand is the remains of what fish eat. Is that true?
     
  7. Charlie99

    Charlie99 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Silicon Valley, CA / New Bedford, MA / Kihei, Maui
    7,966
    158
    63
    Watch a parrotfish for a few minutes and you will very quickly become a believer.
     
  8. archman

    archman Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    5,018
    90
    48
    I study small-scale patterns in community structure of deep sea critters. Big holes or piles of poo tend to remain for sometimes years at a time in the deep sea environment, so obviously it begs the question if the little teeny critters that live in the muck use stuff like that as oases.

    My theories can truthfully be said to based on crap.

    As Charlie said, parrotfishes (scarids) poo out clean sand. It's technically crunched up aragonite (type of calcium carbonate).
     
  9. got4boyz

    got4boyz Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Driggs, Idaho, United States
    407
    0
    0
    LOL Archman! So do parrotfish eat aragonite, or is it help digest their food, like some birds do with rocks? Is it only parrotfish that poo sand?

    How long would I have to watch a parrot fish to see him do his duty??? That would be cool.
     
  10. archman

    archman Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    5,018
    90
    48
    Aragonite constitutes the skeletons of scleractinian corals that parrotfishes eat. The fish chomp down on coral, grind it up, digest the yummy jelly and algae, and poo out brand new sand. It's pretty cool to watch, like underwater barnstormers.

    Many of the older texts still tout parrotfishes as the "creator" of those sparkling carbonate beaches found in the tropics. Eventually the phycologists knocked this notion over the head... though it keeps popping up on semi-science sources.
     

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