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Natural UAE

The shallows

Well within swimming distance of the shore, small reefs and outcrops of coral are inhabited by myriad colourful species with a variety of forms, shapes and beauty. The surf zone, where coral outcrops meet the rocky shoreline, is the favourite domain of the sohal, one of two locally occuring species of surgeon fish. The reefs harbour dozens of different species from the brightly spotted snowflake moray eel, to clownfish,butterfly fish, parrotfish and wrasse. Larger predators such as the barracuda, queenfish and hamour are never far away.

Where tides and wave action have formed gullies and creeks, sedimentary silt has produced another kind of environment, with its own ecosystem of plant and animal life. The animals inhabiting the sand and mud shallow sea-bed tend to live buried within the sediment, hidden for the most part, from view. The sand can vary from fine to coarse-grained, with some areas consisting mainly of broken shells. During 1995 and 1996, the Government of Sharjah created several conservation areas on the east coast containing inshore reefs.

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