Environment

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Red Velvetfish (Gnathanacanthus goetzeei)

While nestled amongst kelp fronds, the Red Velvetfish is not easily seen by divers. They are more active at night. If you are lucky enough to come across one hunting for crabs and octopus on the seafloor, its red colouration is brilliant in the torchlight. In sunlight, by comparison, the fish is relatively dull as red light is rapidly absorbed in seawater. The red colouration assists camouflage on deeper reefs. Red Velvetfish have large floppy fins, scaleless bodies and soft skin and their spines are venomous. Growing to 46 centimetres, the Red Velvetfish is only found in southern Australian waters.

Bull Kelp (Durvillaea potatorum)

Bull Kelp grows up to eight metres in length from their suction-cup base (the aptly named holdfast) and their wide, heavy, leathery fronds lash the rock surface bare. Bull kelp can live for up to eight years, although its life span is usually limited by storms, grazing marine animals or adverse warmer sea temperatures. Aboriginal groups used the dried Bull Kelp to transport water and food; hence the species name potatorum meaning 'to drink'.

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