September is not the best period: heavy rain and strong wind. However, this does not limit diving and especially the beauty of the dive sites in Puerto Galera, located in the eastern part of the island of Mindoro, in the Philippines. The diving sites are really a lot: wrecks, coral reefs and walls sinking into the blue, muck dives on the sand in search of the most bizarre creatures and fantastic night dives. During each dive, I often met beautiful anemones with their colorful guests: the clown fishes. The colors and the liveliness of this small fish attract every diver. Almost in every encounter, I found the clown fishes busy with their reproductive habits, laying eggs and particularly caring them. The site chosen for spawning is a piece of rock or, if missing, even the remnants of a shell, a crustacean’s carapace or other biological remains that substitute the lack of a natural solid substrate. Usually these remains are dragged to the anemone’s base or in proximity of its tentacles, so that serve as protection. The male cleans the site from the presence of any eventual organisms; then the female, usually of larger dimensions, begins laying eggs one beside the other on the substrate, sticking them to it through an adhesive filament. Then the male goes over the eggs and fecundates them with his sperm. The couple will never abandon the nest, but will monitor the eggs waving the water to oxygenate and keep them clean. After 7-10 days, the hatching occurs and the larvae will return to the surface, to go back to the bottom searching for an actinia where to spend the rest of their lives in symbiosis with it. Diving and staying to watching the parental cares of these small fishes is a truly enjoyable experience. This small act is part of the cycle of life and, as an observer, I enjoy all the emotions.
WORDS and PICTURES by Pasquale Vassallo