MALAYSIA-BRUNEI JOINT ISSUE
The South China Sea surrounding East Malaysia and Brunei extend to great depths and contain life forms which are both fascinating and mysterious. From the beautiful coral fishes to the elusive deep-sea nautilus, these marine species descended from the ancient fish-like creatures of the Ordovician period some 480 million years ago. A number of these fishes have evolved into weird and wonderful shapes and colors that they hardly look like fish. Among the unique and fascinating marine species found in the tropical waters of Sabah and Sarawak are the scorpion fish and the deep-dwelling nautilus.
50sen – Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus)
50sen – Orangestriped Trigger Fish (Balistapus undulatus)
RM1 – Chambered Nautilus (Nautilus pompilius)
RM1 – Spotted Boxfish (Ostracion meleagris)
MS 2x RM1, Sheets: 2x 50sen x 20
Date of Issue: 06.02.2007
Having survived relatively unchanged for millions of years, nautiluses represent the only living members of the subclass Nautiloidea, and are often considered to be “living fossils”. The nautilus is similar in general form to other cephalopods (such as cuttlefish), with a prominent head and tentacles. Nautilus pompilius is the largest species in the genus. While some nautilus may grow up to 268 mm in diameter, the majority of nautiluses never exceed 20 cm. Nautilus spends daytime hours in very deep water up to 400 meters, slowly ascending to 200 meters after sunset.
The spotted boxfish has a widespread distribution in the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific areas. It is one of the many colorful coral reef fishes found present in Brunei Darussalam’s offshore waters. They can be found around calm shallow waters near coral reef areas. The fish exhibits “sexual dichromatism” whereby the sexes are of different colors. The female is brownish and densely covered with white spots. The male, is more colorful with dark blue sides blotched with brilliant yellow spots and marking. The dorsal area is black with white spots. The head and tail are trimmed in golden color. The fish grows to about 10 to 20 cm in length.
The Scorpion fish is a small compressed fish, with high and long dorsal fins. Measuring up to 10 centimeters, it may appear in a variety of colors including white, yellow, pink, green, brown or black. Normally encountered on reef front and along the external reef, it stands still with the dorsal fin lifted, rocking and mimicking a seaweed that is being moved by the sea currents. It is an ambush predator, often hiding amongst corals and gorgonians. Algae and hydroids can grow on its skin that change from time to time providing excellent camouflage.
Orangestriped Triggerfish can be found in the warm parts of the Indo-Pacific Ocean and Red Sea. They live in areas of rich coral growth and on clear lagoon, channel or seaward reefs 2 to 50 meters in depth. This species is found present in coral reef areas of the Brunei Darussalam’s offshore waters. Adults can reach maximum of 30 cm in length.
Male Orangestriped Triggerfish are territorial. Spawning behavior involve loose aggregations and builds its nest in channels. Eggs are laid in a single spongy cluster within rock crevices and dug-out shallow sand areas. Eggs are hatched at night. The fish is a hunter and is predatory in nature. It feeds on algae, coral, sea urchins, crabs, mollusks, starfish, worm and sponges. The fish would seek shelter in coral crevices when threatened or when retiring for the night.