TORRI  BOOK 3  FACTS

... about some of those sea creatures – in order of appearance…

Megalodon’s Tooth

The Megalodon is the largest shark that has ever lived. It is now extinct but it last swam the warmer oceans in prehistoric times some 10 to 70 million years ago. Only their fossilized teeth remain – these help scientists know more about them and that they were likely between 12m and 21m long! The Megalodon teeth that have been found are up to 19cm in length.

Compare the size of a Megalodon with other large sea creatures, visit: http://www.sharksider.com/megalodon-shark/

Those Many Dolphins

There are many species of dolphins and the spinner dolphin is the most playful and also one of the smallest. They often travel together in very large groups (pods) of more than 1000 and prefer the deeper, open ocean. They live up to their name and love to leap vertically out of the water while performing a number of acrobatic spinning and twisting moves. They can spin many times during the one leap! Spinner dolphins can dive 900 feet in depth and stay underwater for 8 minutes when they are searching for food.

Find out more: http://www.softschools.com/facts/animals/spinner_dolphin_facts/1248/

https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Mammals/Spinner-Dolphin.aspx

Magnificent Manta Rays

There are two different types of manta rays –  the very large oceanic manta ray which lives in the deeper open ocean,  and the much smaller coastal manta ray which lives in shallower water.  Like whale sharks, very little is known about manta rays. It is thought to be a very smart sea creature as they have the largest brain of all fish.

As the manta swims along it filters water through its body, feeding mainly on plankton but also small crustaceans and small fish. They flap their large wings as they swim and some say they look like birds flying underwater!

Find out more: http://www.mantaray-world.com/facts-about-manta-rays/

http://www.discoverwildlife.com/blog/10-things-you-never-knew-about-manta-rays

What Animal is Griff?

Griff is a Wobbegong shark!  While this sounds like  a funny name, the word wobbegong  is believed to mean “shaggy beard” and comes from an Australian Abooriginal language. These sharks like to live and rest on the sea floor where their body markings keep them well camouflaged. Their small weed-like whiskers around their jaw also help to make them hard to see and means that small fish swim in close and so become an easy to catch feast!  A wobbegong is quite lazy and won’t hurt you unless you swim too near their hiding spot. Best also not to step on it or try to hold its tail!

Find out more: http://ipfactly.com/wobbegong-sharks/

How Do Dugongs Breathe?

Dugongs breathe through special nostrils, which are closed when they swim underwater where they can hold their breath for just a few minutes. As a mammal, a dugong cannot breathe oxygen from inside the water. When they need to get air for oxygen, they push their nostrils above the surface of the water to breathe.

More About Dugongs

Dugongs are sometimes called “sea cows” as they like to feed and graze on seagrass. They eat large amounts every day in order to get enough energy to live! They are very gentle and sociable animals.

Source: http://www.ioseaturtles.org/Education/dugongbooklet.pdf

Do Octopuses Have Arms or Legs?

It has been widely thought that the octopus has eight arms, but it is now known that the octopus actually has six limbs that they use as arms and two that they use as legs! Scientists found that most octopuses move over the sea floor using their back two limbs, leaving the remaining six for eating and exploration.

Find out more: http://mudfooted.com/octopus-arms-legs/

More About Octopuses

The octopus group can be found in all of the world’s oceans and consists of around 300 different species ranging from tiny to huge. The octopus often has a sharp beak and its tentacles circular sucker pads – all good to grip and hold on tight with!

The octopus likes to hide and can blend into its background using elaborate camouflage. It doesn’t have any bones which means it is able to squeeze into very small places. It is thought to be a very smart, clever creature who even enjoys having fun!

Find out more: http://a-z-animals.com/animals/octopus/

What About Shark's Teeth?

Did you know that a typical shark will grow (and lose) thousands of teeth during its life? A shark’s mouth can hold 300 rows of teeth with hundreds in each row. Their main row of teeth is replaced within 8 days – which is why the ocean floor has a lot of sharks teeth lying there!

Find out more: http://www.sharksider.com/facts-about-sharks/

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Places up north that Torri visits ...

The Indonesian Throughflow ...

... is a very strong ocean current that sees the warm ocean water move from the Pacific Ocean across the top of Australia to the Indian Ocean. It brings nutrients and food from the ocean’s depths to sea life along the way, which makes for plenty of different coral and sea creatures and a great eco-system.

Source: http://www.indonesianthroughflow.com

Walaman Creek ...

... is a tidal creek that lies within the mangrove swamps of the Loongabid Community which is on the coast between Broome and Derby in NW of Western Australia. Saltwater crocodiles are regularly seen in the area and ‘longbums’ are one of the many types of shellfish found in the swamps.

Read another story book based at Walaman Creek : "Loongie the Greedy Crocodile" by Lucy and Kiefer Dann.

Mermaid Reef ...

... is a small coral-rimmed reef and is the most northern of a reef system known as Rowley Shoals. Mermaid Reef becomes totally submerged during high tide and is surrounded by very deep water because it is on the edge of Australia’s continental shelf. The reef was named in 1818 when it was discovered by Captain Philip Parker King and he named it after his ship HMS Mermaid. It is classified as a strict nature reserve and is very important for its eco-richness of wonderful coral and many different sea creatures.

Source: https://www.environment.gov.au/topics/marine/marine-reserves/north-west/mermaid-overview

Two Big Reefs #1 - Turtle Reef ...

... covers a massive area with open patches of sand and several permanent deep pools of salt water full of different types of fish. The reef is also home to many turtles and other sea life as well as many different types of corals.

Source:  http://kimberleycoast.com.au/iconic-places/turtle-reef/

Two Big Reefs #2 - Ashmore Reef ...

Ashmore Reef is an even bigger reef! It has two huge lagoons, many seagrass meadows and sand flats and cays where migratory birds from the shore rest as they fly north and then later return south –depending on where and when they like to breed and can find feed. It also has three small islands known as East, Middle and West Islands where large seabirds breed.

Source: http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/marine/marine-reserves/north-west/ashmore

https://www.environment.gov.au/topics/marine/marine-reserves/north-west/mermaid-overview

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Did you know ...

A Noisy Reef is a Healthy Reef

It is likely that a healthy reef will also be a noisy reef –  in fact, the healthier the reef, the louder and noisier it will be! This is because there will be many fish and other marine creatures living there producing clicks and grunts which, in turn, will combine to produce cacophonies of different sounds and noise. Each healthy reef will produce different noises depending on the number, type and and range of sea creatures that live there. There has been a link made between the amount of living coral and the overall noise level – so the louder the reef the healthier it will be!

Find out more: http://smithsonianscience.si.edu/2010/10/healthy-coral-reefs-are-noisier/

http://www.livescience.com/8689-louder-reef-health.html

Mangroves can breathe through their roots

These trees and shrubs have very big roots and grow in salty water where land and water meet. Here they live on mud and thrive even when they are flooded twice a day by the changing ocean tide!  Their roots are home to fish, crabs, shrimps and molluscs and provide a safe place for many young coral fish to shelter and grow before swimming offshore to the reef. Because of the way they are able to breathe through their roots, they are considered the “lungs” of the waterways. So this, together with the extra nutrients they help produce, makes mangroves an important part of a healthy eco-system.

Find out more: http://www.amnh.org/explore/science-bulletins/bio/documentaries/mangroves-the-roots-of-the-sea/what-s-a-mangrove-and-how-does-it-work

About Ghost Nets

Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been left or lost in the ocean by fishermen. These nets are often difficult to see in the dim light of the ocean where they often drift along in the open sea or become tangled on a rocky reef.  Unfortuantely lots of other fishing gear is also lost or left at sea – fishing lines, hooks, ropes and nets. This is a very big problem as this abandoned gear continues to fish indiscriminately (called ghost fishing) and many sea creatures are trapped, entangled and often die.

Find out more: http://www.ghostfishing.org/the-problem/

Ocean Tides and the Moon

The seas’ water rises (high tide) and falls (low tide) depending on the pull of the moon and the sun on the flow of the oceans’ water.

The moon tries to pull at anything on the Earth to bring it closer. But, the Earth is able to hold onto everything except the water. Each day, there are two high tides and two low tides. The ocean is constantly moving from high tide to low tide, and then back to high tide. There are about 12 hours and 25 minutes between the two high tides.  As the moon travels around the earth and as they travel together around the sun, the combined gravitational forces cause the world's oceans to rise and fall.

Source: http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/moontides/

About the important work of the CSIRO

There are two programs that are being run by our CSIRO that are helping us understand more about sea turtles and whale sharks. These scientists tag turtles and whale sharks so that they can learn more about where they travel and breed as well as other things about their habits.

You can follow the work of two scientists using the links below, including tracking the whereabouts of the real-life Torri and the real-life Wilbur the whale shark:

Dr Mat Vanderklift, CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere: Ningaloo turtle tagging

Dr Richard Pillans, CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere: Whale shark tagging

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Torri: The Great Reef Surfing Turtle