David Muirhead recently posted two old slide scans of an adult Banded Morwong, (Cheilodactylus spectabilis) from 1989 on iNaturalist.

David’s comments accompanying the two slides read: –

“2 old slide scans of an adult Banded Morwong at a (Western Cleaner Clingfish) station in a big, open cave near cliff base at Western River (via charter boat tender). …. a leatherjacket ….. (which) was just beyond the subject’s caudal fin …..is queuing for a clean.

An adult Banded Morwong, (Cheilodactylus spectabilis)

(Taken by David Muirhead)

“In the other pic, the Western Cleaner Clingfish host’s cup sponge station is obvious even though no definite Western Cleaner Clingfish are visible.

An adult Banded Morwong, (Cheilodactylus spectabilis)
(Taken by David Muirhead)

“Depth of cave station is ~ 3-5 m, but most of the dive time was spent at 10+ m. My buddy was Steve Reynolds of MLSSA. We only ascended to this cave because we saw the morwong visiting it regularly and thought it was a good way to get photos of the otherwise fast, restless and elusive morwong (We’d not seen this morwong species in SA before that).”

I had to point out that the photos were both taken in 1989, rather than April 1996. David’s posting brought back memories of four great dives that David & I did together back in 1989. We were both members of the Fleurieu Scuba Club at the time and joined FSC members on a trip to stay at Peter & Cate Telfer’s Middle River Homestead in November that year.

David & I shared a room together and also did each of our four dives together. We certainly saw a Banded Morwong on two of our dives (the first and the fourth dives). Our first and third dives were at Pissy Boy Rock, and the second and fourth dives were both at Snug Cove (western Snug Cove first, followed by the Pinnacle).

Visibility was great for all of our dives and we saw some incredible marine life, including seals, dolphins, a male leafy seadragon with eggs, silverspots, blue morwong, long-snouted boarfish, white-barred boxfish, barber perch, crayfish, abalone, gorgonian corals, swallowtail, nannygai, black-banded sea perch, blue groper and many other welcome sightings at depths down to a maximum of 20metres.

I reported these dives in our December 1989 and January 1990 newsletters. I will remember them forever.

By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

One thought on “Banded Morwong sighting at Western River, Kangaroo Island”
  1. Thanks Steve for your great article and for noting that my memory for dive dates is dismal .
    1989 versus 1996….I reckon you are just splitting hairs (said the bald David who has always been rather precious!!

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