Category Japan/Asia – temperate


to genera, with some to species (Zostera asiatica and Z. marina)

Seagrass habitats in the region, as elsewhere in the world, have been lost, fragmented and damaged by development and poor catchment management, through practices such as sewage and stormwater discharges, urban runoff, dredging, boating and land reclamation.

Seagrass meadows play a key ecological role in the region’s coastal ecosystems and the loss of seagrass beds is considered to be one of the most serious issues facing the marine environment. Seagrass habitats support high primary productivity and host a wide variety of associated fauna including commercially important fishes.

The extent of seagrass beds is a good indicator of the ecological health of the marine environment...

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Haliotis spp. – 4 species

Abalones are highly-valued but slow growing, herbivorous marine snails. They belong to a large class of molluscs (Gastropoda) with single-structured shells. There are over 100 species worldwide in the single genus Haliotis, which means ‘sea ear’, a reflection of the flattened shape of the shell. It is no surprise then that it is called ‘Oreille de Mer’ in France. Abalone shells can be oval or rounded, with a row of respiratory pores and large dome towards one end. They are edible molluscs and considered a delicacy. The inner shell of abalone, which has an iridescent green, blue, or pink sheen, is a source of mother-of-pearl

The strong, muscular foot generates enough suction to allow the abalone to fix itself firmly to rocky surfaces, and enables...

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Horned turban

Turbo cornutus

The horned turban (Turbo cornutus) is an edible mollusc, a member of the class Gastropoda, the largest class of molluscs containing over 35,000 living species and 15,000 fossil forms. The one – piece (univalve) shell is usually coiled or spiralled, although in some cases, such as nudibranchs, the shell is completely absent.

The gastropod usually has a distinct head with one or two sensory tentacles and a mouth that is often equipped with a rasp-like tongue called a radula. The head can be drawn into its body. The underside of the animal is modified into a long, flattened foot, used by benthic (bottom-dwelling) species for mobility...

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Lobsters, like shrimps and crabs, are decapods – literally meaning 10 legs – and can be found in all of the world’s tropical and sub-tropical seas as well as more temperate waters. They are predatory, nocturnal animals with a vividly decorated coat. They are often numerous locally; they linger in crevices (with their long antennae sticking out) during the day and hunt small benthic organisms at night, but they also feed on organic detritus whenever they happen across it. As with all crustaceans, the lobster moults or sheds its shell to grow. Up until the end of the 19th century lobster was so plentiful that it was often used as fish bait. Sadly, with lobster’s ever-increasing popularity those days are now gone forever...

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Stichopodidae sea cucumber

Apostichopus japonicus and Stichopus nigirpunctatus

Sea cucumbers (Holothuroidea) are a group of worm-like and usually soft-bodied echinoderms that are found in nearly every marine environment, but are most diverse on tropical shallow-water coral reefs. They range from the intertidal zone, where they may be exposed briefly at low tide, to the floor of the deepest oceanic trenches (an unidentified specimen was taken from the Philippine trench in 1951 at 10,190 metres) generally preferring sandy and muddy habitats.

There are approximately 1400 extant species which come in many forms. Generally cucumber shaped, some adults of diminutive species may not exceed 1cm in length, while one large species (Synapta maculata) can reach lengths of 3 m! (One report of this species at 5m long on t...

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