Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving Web Site
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Noel Hitchins 1951-2005
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My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
  • Purchase of Catlypso
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  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
    Sydney Dive Site Hints
    "Bare Island Isolated Reefs have sea dragons, red indianfish and sea horses"
    Bare Island - Anglerfish
    Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Sea Horses of Bare Island Bare Island is the most amazing dive location. There are at least 10 different dives that can be done with only small sections being repeated (on the way to or from the main aim of the dive). The marine life is astounding considering how we have treated Botany Bay since Lieutenant James Cook, RN, first entered the Bay in April 1770 and his compatriot, Captain Arthur Phillip, RN, bought the First Fleet into the same Bay in 1788.

    Bare Island has some many different types of marine life that help make it so special. One of these are anglerfish. There are three different species of anglerfish that are regularly seen as well as a couple of other species that have been sighted on rare occasions. The anglerfish can be found basically anywhere around the island, but most I have seen have been on the Right Side of Bare Island.

    The species we see are as follows:

  • Bare Island or red-fingered anglerfish - Porophryne erythrodactylus
  • Striped or striated anglerfish - Antennarius striatus
  • Painted anglerfish - Antennarius pictus
  • The following are some photographs of these anglerfish, all taken at Bare Island. Some will show the same anglerfish as it grows.

    BARE ISLAND ANGLERFISH

    Porophryne erythrodactylus - Very hard to find due to camouflage and the fact they hide anywhere, even upsidedown. Only first found in the early 2000s at Bare Island by Roxanne Fea and Json Coombs. We called it the Bare Island anglerfish as that is where it was first found and recognised as a new species. Subsequently it was named red-fingered anglerfish but I prefer the original name we all gave it so I will only call it that.

    Generally only found in Botany Bay and nearby reefs, but rumoured to have been seen further south of here. They seem to hang around in the one location for a short time and then move. Some have been known to come back after a year or more absence.

    There are many colours, including grey, orange, yellow and more. They also seem to be able to change colours, as we have seen one that was orange and then later was yellow. Individuals can be recognised by the pattern of growths on them, especially around the mouth and eyes.

    Bare Island AnglerfishBare Island Anglerfish
    This Bare Island anglerfish was seen by me on 23 September 2020Here is the same anglerfish, now orange, seen on 9 November 2021
    Seen in same general location as before
    Bare Island AnglerfishBare Island Anglerfish
    This Bare Island anglerfish was seen a lot towards the end of 2022
    on or near Block Rock. This was taken 13 December 2022.
    This is the same one as at left taken the next day 14 December 2022.
    It now has eggs visible between its foot and tail.
    Bare Island AnglerfishBare Island Anglerfish
    The same grey angler as above on 12 January 2023. Now about 10 metres away from above.Again, the same grey angler on 4 February 2023
    in a different spot again about 10 metres away from left

    STRIPED/STRIATED ANGLERFISH

    Antennarius striatus - much more common and easier to find, come in many colours including brown, black and yellow. These are quite variable in size, from small ones about 150 mm long to big fat ones 250 mm long. In recent years we have been seeing a lot in late summer through to late autumn.

    Bare IslandBare Island
    Painted anglerfish seen 16 March 2023The same painted anglerfish seen 30 March 2023
    You can see the pattern is the same on both
    Bare IslandBare Island
    Painted anglerfish seen 16 March 2023The same painted anglerfish seen 5 April 2023
    Bare IslandBare Island
    Painted anglerfish seen 31 March 2023Painted anglerfish seen 5 April 2023
    Bare IslandBare Island
    Painted anglerfish seen 6 April 2023Painted anglerfish seen 16 April 2023
    Bare IslandBare Island
    Painted anglerfish seen 30 March 2023Painted anglerfish seen 19 April 2023

    PAINTED ANGLERFISH

    Antennarius pictus - most of the ones we see are tiny babies, starting from 3 mm in length. The colours are mostly orange for baby ones but adults can be other colours including black. We see far more tiny ones than adults. These tend to be on the sides of rocks or walls rather than flat on the top.

    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    I first saw this tiny painted anglerfish on 18 June 2023, then a number of times
    in July and August. It was about 5-7 mm long

    Was near the Cave
    The same anglerfish on 9 January 2024
    Seen near Block Rock
    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    Another photo of the painted anglerfish, 30 January 2024
    Has moved a few metres to outside the Cave
    The same anglerfish on 8 March 2024
    Now on between Cave and Opera House Rocks
    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    This tiny painted anglerfish was seen on 9 November 2021 The same anglerfish, a few days later on 19 November 2021
    Seen in exact same spot
    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    Another photo of the painted anglerfish, 29 December 2021, markings more prominent now
    Has moved a few metres to another rock
    The same anglerfish, on 13 January 2022, 300 mm long and more prominent markings
    Now on top of the rock rather than the side
    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    This tiny painted anglerfish was found by me on 9 November 2021 The same anglerfish, a bit bigger, seen on 10 December 2021
    Seen in exact same spot
    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    This tiny painted anglerfish was seen on 20 April 2020 Another anglerfish seen on 9 May 2020
    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    This tiny painted anglerfish was first seen on 26 August 2020 The same anglerfish, a bit bigger, seen on 7 October 2020
    Seen in exact same spot
    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    The same tiny painted anglerfish as above two photos, 5 January 2021 The same anglerfish, a fair bit bigger than the first photo, 12 January 2021
    Still in exact same spot
    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    Small painted anglerfish seen 30 March 2023 Perhaps the same painted anglerfish as at left, 7 April 2023
    Painted AnglerfishPainted Anglerfish
    Tiny painted anglerfish seen 29 April 2023 A much grown painted anglerfish 5 August 2023, not sure which one it was originally

    SUMMARY

    For more information about the dives, go to the Bare Island Dives index.

    Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2024
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
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    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded for almost 30 years by Michael McFadyen without any help from the Australian Dive Industry.
    Website created 1996!