Okay, we’re gonna geek out for a minute or two…on Wenteltraps….
Yeah, whatever you might say. Small yellow snails? Whatever. Not interesting.
I beg to differ. These guys are really amazing. And they are part of the really weird web of life that makes the reef so very interesting.
This is one of those things I can sit and watch for long periods of time. Partly so I stay still and therefore stay underwater longer, partly because they barely move and amke for easier photography but mostly because they are so strange.
Of course, small yellow snails are not for everyone. So I warn people about this before going on a dive and let everyone know that if you want to see a shark – “look around”.
The Wentletraps in our region are small and yellowish as you’ll see from these pictures. They cruise along with aggression in their hearts and passion in their eyes.
They are always trying to get a “bit of action” if you know what I mean. Then….They just carry the eggs around on their shells. Sort of like tying your kids to the top of the car! Not cool. And since they are just eggs, they can’t be all that noisy.
When they are not getting “busy”” they take all their anger out on cup corals. I swear, who could be anything but happy with these little corals who look like wee little cups (thus the name). The Wentletraps, pull up alongside, jam their probiscus (nose/mouth) inside and digest the entire coral leaving just the exoskeleton. How cruel.
Then they just make the worst of it – they leave their eggs in the now empty skeleton and take off for more dirty deeds and massacres of innocent corals!
Yet, the voyeur in me loves to watch this drama unfold. Murderous cold-hearted single parents who abandon their children after eating their victims. Man, if that doesn’t sound like a good TV show or what!
These dramas usually take place on the underside of overhangs and other dark areas, as the Cup corals seem to not like direct sunlight. I have rarely seen them out during the day (except in darker caves or overhangs). They tend to be most easily seen on Richelieu Rock, Christmas Point and Elephant Head Rock. Of course you’ll find me lurking in dark areas on my dives too…but then….