Layang-Layang Island, also known as Swallow Reef, is an elongated atoll that rises out of 6000 foot depths in the Spratly Islands west of Kota Kinabalu in the South China Sea. It is a place of beautiful walls and big fish. Later in the season the hammerhead sharks gather in large numbers, but they were still in very deep water when we were there, early in the diving season, and we were not able to photograph them.
The reef was filled to make a landing strip. Next to the strip are a military base and a resort. Further along the strip is an area where birds frequently nest.
Striped large-eye bream, Gnathodentex aureolineatus
Pennant bannerfish, Heniochus chrysostomus
Schooling bannerfish, Heniochus diphreutes
Pyramid butterflyfish, Hemitaurichthys polylepis
Parrotfish, Scarus sp., and grouper, Epinephelus sp.
Sabre squirrelfish, Sargocentron spniferum
Clown triggerfish, Balistoides conspicillum
Many-spotted sweetlips, Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides
Arc-eye hawkfish, Paracirrhites arcatus
Longnose butterflyfish, Forcipiger flavissimus
Fire dartfish, Nemateleotris magnifica
Foxface rabbitfish, Siganus valpinus
White-spotted puffer, Arothron hispidus
The Layang Layang resort exists partly for a political reason. It helps to solidify Malaysia's claim to the island and to the waters around it. But the fish life is prolific and the diving is wonderful. There are many different species!
Tomato anemonefish, Amphiprion frenatus
Orange anemonefish, Amphiprion sandaracinos
Clark's anemonefish, Amphiprion clarkii
These are clown fish, which live in a symbiotic relationship with anemones. Just as there are different kinds of clown fish, there are different kinds of anemones.
There are several kinds of crabs and shrimp. The middle photo is a small squat lobster who is hiding on a crinoid. The third photo shows a tiny shrimp. The last photo shows the mantle of a giant clam. The color comes from algae.
There are sea fans and corals here too.
Hawksbill turltle, Eretmochelys imbricata
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Last modified 12 March 2017