Sea Dog TV International are currently filming "Rottnest & The Mystery Islands" for Nat Geo Wild. The team were walking along a beach tide line on the south side of the Island last Tuesday when a rather stunning looking "electric purple" jelly was noted and photographed. As the critter had a jelly appearance, it was initial thought to be one of the two Salps species. As with all documentaries, the Sea Dog team pursues scientific accuracy so via the help from Dr Jane Fromont at the WA Museum, images were sent to Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin a Research Scientist in the USA who specialises in the study of jellys for ID. To say Dr Gershwin replied with great surprise and excitement would be an understatement. To our delight, Lisa replied "It's an incredibly rare find" ……that's no salp……actually it's a pelagic sea cucumbers! (Actually I'm fairly confident, I'm just feeling totally blown away with excitement!). If you google ‘enypniastes’ (pronounced "ee-NIP-nee-ASS-teeze"), you'll see what I mean! And they ARE actually electric purple sometimes (wow!)! They also come in reddish, pinkish, almost jet black, and almost completely colourless and transparent. They're from the deep sea, so you must've had one heck of a good storm to bring them up and in!".
So, the Island surprised us all yet again, so when you next take a visit to Rottnest and take the time to make a leisurely walk along one of our beautiful beaches, you may well discover something new, walk carefully, leave only foot prints and take only great memories and photographs.
All images taken by Doug Coughran - Sea Dog TV International (http://www.seadogtvinternational.com/)